Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Sometimes we face situations and circumstances in our lives that make us feel as if there is no hope. But Jesus says, “Take heart! There’s hope!”
James Cash Penney opened his chain of “Golden Rule” stores in 1907. Three years later his first wife died. In 1913 he incorporated as the J.C. Penney Company. In 1923 his second wife died giving birth to their son, and six years later in 1929, the stock market crashed, and he lost millions.
By 1932 J.C. Penney had sold virtually everything he had to satisfy creditors and was financially and emotionally broken. Devastated and crushed by the circumstances surrounding him, and due to failing health, he wound up in a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. One morning he overheard the singing of employees who’d gathered to start the day with God. The song they were singing was, “God Will Take Care Of You.” He heard these lines: “Be not dismayed, whate’er betide, God will take care of you ...” J.C. walked closer to the singing and sat in the back listening.
A short time later J.C. Penney left the sanitarium a changed man and, at the age of 56, began the climb back to the top. Ironically, in 1940, Sam Walton began working at J.C. Penney in Des Moines, Iowa. By the time 1951 arrived there was a J.C. Penney store in every state, and sales surpassed the one billion mark. In 1962 Sam Walton started Walmart.
You’ve heard the old saying, “A penny for your thoughts” ... Well, next time you start thinking about how bad things are in your life, think of J.C. Penny, and remember the words of Jesus, “Take Heart! There’s Hope!”
Psalm 147:11, “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Every Christian should be a purveyor of hope. Are you?
I hope so!
© Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.