As we continue our observation of Black History Month with Lessons from our Past – today we will explore the life and faith of Rosa Parks. Most people know her story - Rosa Parks, seamstress, refused to give up her seat on the segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama on the first of December in 1955 and in doing so sparked the modern civil rights movement.
It's a powerful story, but often a crucial truth is left out in the retelling. Rosa Parks was a devoted Christian and believed it was her faith which ultimately gave her the strength to get her through when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus that day. She later related, “Since I have always been a strong believer in God, I knew that He was with me…and would give me the strength to endure what came next. God’s peace flooded my soul, and my fear melted away.”
In her book, she credited the foundation of her faith to her grandparents, explaining that through them, “Prayer and the Bible became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs.” She came to understand faith required action and God always gave the strength for that action. When the story of her activism is recounted, we often hear it said that she didn’t give up her seat because she was tired, but she later clarified, “the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Throughout her life, she didn’t cease her fight. She credited God’s Word as a source of her strength, in particular, Psalms 23 and 27. Psalm 27:1, says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” She knew God gave her the strength she needed and she gave Him the glory. May we remember her faith as well as her contributions and carry on in His strength, taking the steps toward genuine freedom, and glorifying God for always being by our side.