Never in My Lifetime

This February's black history celebration will be a heightened one of joy and pride as a defining time in history for African Americans and people of color in the United States.

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capital as the 44th president of the United States, and the first African American to hold such a position. To many, he fulfills the dream of the late Martin Luther King Jr. as he foresaw a time when blacks living in this country would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

"Never in my lifetime!" resounded over and over again from both young and old African Americans reflecting on Obama's victory over Senator McCain the night of November 4, 2008. They were amazed at the outcome of this historic event—something they never thought to witness in their lifetime.

This past year we celebrated 100 years of the Adventist work in our African-American churches on the West Coast. The rapid growth of the Adventist message among blacks from San Diego, California, to Anchorage, Alaska, from Tucson, Arizona, to Spokane, Washington, has caused many of the early pioneers of the work who are still living to say they never dreamed they would see so much accomplished in their lifetime, given the racial obstacles they had to overcome.

This vision of the work among African Americans was outlined over 120 years ago by Ellen G. White in her book The Southern Work. In her writings, she let us know how God viewed people of color. "All are one in Christ; birth, station, nationality or color cannot elevate or degrade men. The character makes the man."

This vision for the work among the colored people led many pastors and Bible workers to head West with the Adventist message, going where many were reluctant to go at first. (See this month's feature beginning on page 6.)

While we celebrated the first African-American president in the White House as a sudden unexpected rise to the highest office in the land, I believe the Second Coming of Jesus will be just as surprising to many.

We've talked about it for a long time, yet many still do not believe Jesus will come back in their lifetimes. As with the servants in the parable of the talents, the Lord will return at a time when they least expect him.

Yet with God all things are possible, for He holds the world in the palm of His hand. Let us not be surprised when we see the King of Kings coming in our lifetimes.

Rather than "never in my lifetime," let's be ready to shout with the waiting saints, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him. This is the Lord, He will save us."

February 01, 2009 / Editorial