Lost in the feeling of hopelessness, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rose and went into a bedroom at the back of the suite. There was no choice really. He had to make his witness, on the faith that God would not abandon him in this dismal hour. With that faith, he changed into his work clothes—blue jeans and a blue cotton shirt—and returned to the group in the next room.
“I am going to jail,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know where the money will come from. But I have to make a faith act.” (Let the Trumpet Sound, 220)
Lent is a season that reminds us to let go of worldly expectations to allow God to be our true source of sustenance. We are reminded that our lives are a precious gift from God. Therefore, we are challenged to let go of the things that we hold dear, the places in our heart that we are fiercely possessive of. Deciding to make a faith act invites God to move into these dark places of our heart.
Dr. King made a faith act in the face of a hopeless situation in Birmingham, a state-court injunction with no money to make bail. Yet, Dr. King chose his faith over conforming to worldly expectations of leadership because he believed his life was a generous gift from God, and that God would empower him to act on his faith. Dr. King made a faith act that drew him closer to God in solidarity.
In this Lenten season, I pray that we too become closer to God in solidarity through our own faith acts by remembering that our lives are precious gifts from God, sustained only by God’s generosity.