“The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” - Psalm 121:7-8 The Delany sisters, Bessie and Sadie, each lived over 100 years. In their book, The Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom, they wrote about their beloved “Papa,” a former slave, who was elected the first black bishop of the Episcopal Church of America. n 1918 he was asked to be a guest preacher at a church in Raleigh, Virginia. His family considered the invitation a great honor, so all ten children and his wife attended. Even though Papa was the guest of honor, his family was sent to the back balcony. Bessie recalls, “They made us sit where the slaves had been made to sit. And then we were not given the privilege of Communion.”
When the story appeared in the sisters’ first book, they received a formal letter of apology from the congregation of that church.
Bessie writes, “We were so touched that they apologized a full seventy-five years later. Now that’s God’s work.”
Seventy-five years! Decades over which bitterness and resentment could have hardened these women’s hearts.
But something insulated them from such destructive emotions. Something motivated them to live free, productive lives, each following her passion (Bessie became a dentist and Sadie a teacher).
“We set aside time everyday to talk to the Lord,” Sadie wrote. “After all, He has to manage the whole world and He’s never too busy for us!”
These two women lived with the knowledge that God loves them and always worked all things for good in their lives.
Bessie recalled “When we walk into our house—whether we’re coming back from a long trip or just from seeing our neighbors—the first thing we say is, ‘Praise the Lord.’ We do that to thank Him for watching over us.”
Two black women growing up in an era when that meant two strikes against them, could almost have been excused for resenting their circumstances and harboring ill feelings. But Bessie and Sadie, trusting in God’s love and provision, lived abundantly, successfully and accomplished amazing things during their century on earth.
They are examples to us all.
[Photo: Luis Garcia, CreationSwap]