- The Washington Times - Monday, June 7, 2004

The following is a sermon given recently by the Rev. Willie F. Wilson at the Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast.

If God be for us, He is more than the whole world against us. And I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge and my strength, the very present help in the time of trouble. He is a refuge in the time of need.

Even when my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. The Lord is my light and my salvation. … Praise the Lord on today. Out of the writing of David: While being chased by his son Absalom, he is running, hiding and seeking strength. Wondering whether he should continue to take flight or whether he should fight. Until he comes to a great revelation. … He says, “I lie down and I go to sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me and then … in your anger do not sin when you are on your beds.” Search your hearts and be silent. For a minute, I want to talk about how to acquire the skill to chill.

David said, “At night I lie down and I go to sleep.” I found out how to chill in the midst of all that I am going through. It is in the realm of regret and the region of obsolete opportunity that we find our greatest disappointment and deepest pain.

I must admit it is difficult in the times in which we live, in the environment in which we find ourselves that we have to move. It is difficult to remain unwrinkled. It is difficult to maintain our cool.

It is difficult to chill in the midst of everything that we have to go through. There is something always to be anxious about. The water being polluted with lead, the threat of terrorist attacks, the scourge of violence in the streets, the rising epidemic of AIDS, the insidious invasion of our families at the most unexpected time of adversity, and negativity and evil that come upon us. There’s always something to take your breath away.

You will never be able to prepare for the sheer chance of unpredictable tragic events. How do you prepare for the unexpected? In spite of your carefulness, something happens on the road of life. You can’t prepare for all the tragedies and negative unpredictable things that might come into your life. But you can acquire the skill to chill.

You can’t give your heart over to anxiety, fear, hurt and disappointment. Yes, indeed the gas may go higher in price, the economy may get worse, the war in Iraq could get larger, the Potomac River may rise, Social Security may run out before you get yours. But you can’t get a lump in your throat, knees shaking, breath short waiting for these terrible things to happen in your life. You can’t count on your quick wit, you can’t count on your feeble strength — you must acquire the skill to chill.

I want you to get it in you minds today: You must acquire the skill to chill. In acquiring the skill to chill, I am talking about developing a habit. And to develop a habit three things must happen to you: Knowledge about what to do, the desire to want to do, the wisdom and skill of how to do. …

Remember when Jesus called his disciples. … They had seen Jesus pray. Before they had knowledge about prayer — they knew how to pray — but there was something lacking. They didn’t know what to do; they didn’t have the desire to. They had the knowledge but they lacked the skill or desire to pray. …

We must fight for what is right and that which will liberate our people. You can fight or flight, but there are some things in life that you can’t run from. Some things you must confront and deal with.

America is not a melting pot. It’s more of an orchestra where everyone plays its own instrument, that brings forth a harmony. You must understand who you are and be who you are and not who you’re not. Affirm who you are. Don’t let no one melt you down.

God knew what he was doing when He made me, and He made me like He wanted me to be. I don’t have to melt down. I can be part of the orchestra, to bring forth a beautiful harmony.

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