Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Old Man "Can't"

Old Man "Can't"

The little girl was frustrated and in tears when her grandfather came upon her outside by the well. The family had no running water in their Carolina home and mother had sent the young child to the well on a hot day to fetch a couple buckets full of water.

(pictured: My wife Robin and Dr. Williams at Robin's graduation from Azusa Pacific)

It was a difficult task for an eight year to draw the water into those empty buckets and then lug the heavy load back uphill to the house. She was understandably struggling to complete such a challenging task.

"What's the matter, baby girl?" the grandpa asked the upset child. "Oh, Grandpa" she sighed, "it's so hot and these buckets are so heavy. I'm too little to do this kind of work. I can't cart these heavy buckets all the way back uphill to the house. I just can't..."
"Now wait just a minute," the wise old man replied. "Old man "Can't" died about two thousand years ago. You can do all things through Christ who gives you the strength."
Those words, taken from Scripture, (Philippians 4:13) found their way deep into the heart of the child. Over the decades that followed, her belief that "I can do all things through Christ" fueled her progress.

Although she began life as a poor girl in a sharecropper's family, Helen Easterling -Williams was forever changed by her Grandfather's words. His confident assertion that "Old Man Can't" passed away for good on the day Christ rose from the dead fueled her considerable accomplishments. She reasoned that, as a believer, His power in her could make all things possible - and she acted on that faith.

She continued her education and began her rise to positions of influence and impact. Not only did she complete high school but she went on to earn her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.

Today, Dr. Williams is the Dean of Education at Azusa Pacific University - the institution of higher education where my wife, Robin, became acquainted with her during her own studies there. On the several occasions I have met Dr. Williams, I found myself in awe of her radiant spirit, deep faith, and affirming, empowering presence.

It's amazing to think that it all began for this most remarkable woman on that hot day by the well when a faith-filled man shared the good news that "Old Man Can't" would never keep her from her God-given course if she would simply believe that she could "do all things through Christ" - and never stop.

I wonder what stories you will tell as you apply those wise and timeless words to your challenges and opportunities?

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