Friday, January 23, 2009

The Magical Effect

American President John Quincy Adams once said, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” Have you ever witnessed the magical effect of patience and perseverance?

One North Carolina church wanted to purchase some property. The church regularly suffered from high tide flooding. But when the church was originally built, they couldn't afford better property.

As the story is told, they finally decided to relocate to higher ground. An ideal lot was empty - actually the highest ground in town. It belonged to a man named Sam Sadler. Officials from the church went to see Mr. Sadler about selling the property. He politely told them it wasn't for sale; that he had other plans for the land. They persisted, but still he refused.

The congregants were disappointed. Mr. Sadler's land seemed the perfect location. Eventually, they decided on another piece of property and began building.

But a strange thing happened on September 16, 1876, the eve of the dedication of the new church. One of the worst coastal floods in memory struck the town. As water rose, so did the church building. It left its temporary home and floated down main street, turned a corner and eventually settled on the highest spot in town - the empty lot owned by Sam Sadler.

Mr. Sadler gave in. He allowed the building to stay and, because of the remarkable turn of events, they chose a new name: Providence. Today, if you were to ask how Providence United Methodist Church of Swanquarter, North Carolina came to acquire its land, someone may relate to you what Sam Sadler said about the transaction: “I guess if the good Lord couldn't move me to give the land to the church, he would move the church to the land.”

Even John Quincy Adams might have been amazed at the “magical effect” before which the church’s obstacles disappeared.

I believe it was basketball great Michael Jordan who said, “If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work your way around it.”

It’s about patience and perseverance. (And it can’t hurt to have a little faith.)

-- Steve Goodier

Image: Emerson

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