Lots of people say “till death do us part” when they get married. But few get a chance to prove it as Clara Gantt did. In 1948 she married Joseph Gantt, and not long after that, he was deployed with the US Army to Korea to fight in the Korean War. US Army First Class Sergeant Joseph Gantt was captured and thought to be killed in action in 1950. But his body was never found, and his death was never confirmed by the North Koreans.
His wife, Clara, waited for decades for her husband to come back. She regularly went to meetings with government officials seeking information about what had happened. Clara even bought a house and had it professionally landscaped so all Joseph would have to do when he came home was go fishing.
She was ninety-four years old when his remains were finally brought home for a military funeral with full honors. It wasn’t the homecoming she dreamed of, but she finally knew his fate. Clara told a reporter who interviewed her, “He told me if anything happened to him, he wanted me to remarry. And I told him ‘No, no.’ Here I am, still his wife, and I’m going to remain his wife until the day the Lord calls me home.”
She continued to love him till the end, even though it was decades in the making.
As believers, we are the Bride of Christ, waiting for His return. He doesn't expect us to build Him a home but has called us to be faithful and patiently wait until He takes us home. While Mrs. Clara Gantt's long wait ended with sorrow and disappointment, the patience of the believer will be rewarded with eternal jubilation.
"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:2-3).
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).
In 1961, meteorologist Edward Lorenz developed a computer program to predict weather patterns. One day he was in a hurry and set a computer calculation that was supposed to be .506127 to .506. He figured a thousandth of a percent would be irrelevant. Later in the day, he restarted the program and found a radically different prediction in weather patterns. He produced a paper stating that a very small change in initial conditions could have a radical change in results. A fellow scientist said that if Lorenz was correct, a single flap of a seagull’s wind could change the course of the weather forever.
In 1972, Lorenz presented a paper called, “Does the Flap of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?” The idea that a little change somewhere in the world could produce huge changes somewhere else became known as the "Butterfly Effect."
[Edward Lorenz's findings were first published in 1963, in a paper entitled “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow." Lorenz shared the 1983 Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was awarded the 1991 Kyoto Prize.]
A small act of faithfulness today can have huge ramifications in the future, far beyond anything we can anticipate, producing results that we may never see. But it's not necessary for us to know the ultimate impact of these quite actions. Our task is to simply focus on being faithful to God in small things.
"His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’" (Matthew 25:23).
One of the biggest boxing matches of the twentieth century took place on November 25, 1980, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a rematch between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. Duran had won the previous fight and was the favorite the second time around. He had a record of 72 wins and just one loss and he had won his last forty-one fights. That is some winning streak.
The rematch was a close fight. Only a point or two separated the two fighters on the judges’ scorecards. But then something unthinkable happened in the eighth round that no one expected. Roberto Duran turned to the referee and spoke two words: "No Mas." "No more." He quit. He wasn’t injured. He wasn’t cut. He was frustrated and he’d had enough. Here is a fighter who was one of the best to ever step into the ring. He won a total of 103 fights, but when anyone mentions his name today, the first thing that comes to mind is “no mas.” People remember the day he quit.
We have all had times when we felt like quitting. Quitting your job. Quitting the class you teach. Quitting on your marriage. Some people even give up on God. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people in this country give up on life itself. Over 959,000, almost a million Americans, attempt suicide every year.
Some of the greatest heroes of the Bible thought about giving up. Elijah said, “Lord, go ahead and take my life. I’m finished” (1 Kings 19:4). Job said, “Cursed be the day I was born” (Job 3:1). Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. He said, “O that my eyes were a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night" (Jeremiah 9:1).
Yet, these men overcame the temptation to quit and served God faithfully. So when you are tempted to quit, remember, you are in good company. Hang in there. Keep serving. Keep being faithful. Keep doing what God wants you to do. Don't be known for the time you decided to quit.