Oh, Freedom


Her stirring voice brought contralto Marian Anderson worldwide acclaim. Her race, however, meant the African American singer often faced hurtful disrespect. One of the worst public rejections was a denial to perform at the famed Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. With help from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, however, Anderson was allowed to perform outside on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. On that Easter Sunday of 1939, a crowd of 75,000 amassed to hear Anderson sing, with millions more listening on radio.

Her biggest achievement, though, was never growing bitter. Instead, she put her faith and focus on God. To Him, she prayed “with the sure knowledge there was Someone to Whom I could pour out the greatest need of my heart and soul.” In Him, “I have a freedom in life I could not have in any other way.”

The barriers Anderson and all of us face in life invite us to reflect on our Christ, and how He handled rejection.

He is “the stone the builders rejected,” but became the “cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22) of our faith. “He was despised and rejected by mankind” (Isaiah 53:3). Yet He served and loved all in dignity, inspiring us to face rejection in the same way. When we do, our lives become transcendent witnesses for God, allowing our hearts to sing freely of Christ with a melody of love. -Patricia Raybon

Prayer: Dear Loving Lord, when life brings hurtful rejection, inspire my heart to sing not with bitterness, but of Your love.