Recently, after experiencing a few very discouraging weeks and becoming quite irritated with people in general, I had the awesome privilege of meeting Cheryl Prewitt Salem, a former Miss America. Our interaction over a three-day period had a very profound and powerful impact on me that quickly changed my mood and totally transformed my outlook.
Was it her captivating beauty that had me transfixed? No, I meet beautiful people every day. Some even prettier.
Was it her title or celebrity status? No, I have never been one to be star-struck. If someone told me that Queen Elizabeth was just a block away, I don’t think I could be enticed away from the book I was reading.
Was it her charismatic personality? No. Believe me, I have met both Mr. and Mrs. Personality, only to find they carried more venom than a rattlesnake and I had enough sense to flee for my life. Charm unfortunately can be concocted for each and every occasion and for self-seeking motives and selfish ambitions leaving a trail of broken, hurting people.
Could it have been the fact that she made others feel important? I was told that upon hearing that ‘Midnight Cry’ had a very special and significant meaning in my life that she then chose to sing it during her television interview the following night. That certainly endeared her to my heart, but no, it was none of the above.
Was it because she didn’t drink or smoke or cuss? Not at all. Dead people don’t drink or smoke or cuss. The Pharisees and the Sadducees didn’t drink or smoke or cuss either and Jesus called this religious crowd a generation of vipers. No, this certainly did not impress Jesus and it was not what impressed me. It was her spirit! She glows. She radiates. There is excitement in her voice. She exudes life. She is like a breath of fresh air. Not because she hasn’t had trials and tribulation. Much misfortune has plagued her life and brought great pain and heartbreak her way. Despite a traffic accident which left her with 160 stitches to her face, she pressed on to receive the crown and title of Miss USA. After tragically losing her little six-year-old daughter, despite her grief, she gave hope to others by stating that her daughter was not a memory back in her past, but was in her future, in the arms of Jesus, waiting at the pearly gates. Though she fought a battle with cancer Cheryl is alive and vibrant, living in the power of God. Despite all the devastation in her life, her warmth and kindness makes her a true personification of everything that it means to be a Christian. The powerful anointing surrounding Cheryl is obviously a result of her intense intimacy with Jesus. The amount of time we spend with Him is what makes us more like Him.
I observed Cheryl during a cruel verbal attack, which you could see by her demeanor wounded her deeply, remain sweet and she responded to that malicious slur in a most gracious and dignified manner, in love and humility, with neither malice nor revenge.
I empathized immediately because I recalled once when I came to church sobbing about what had just happened to me and what a terrible impact this would have on my entire family, one of the ‘Pharisee crowd’ commented, "Well, it’s about time something wiped that smile off your face and knocked off those rose-colored glasses." I was probably more shaken and devastated by her comment than by my misfortune, but I remember thinking, "God have mercy on her soul." That was probably my initiation and preparation for some of the callers that phone me now on live TV while an entire nation watches how I respond.
How do you respond to the unsavory? What type of impact do you have on people? What type of impression do you leave? Are you a sweet savor or have your circumstances caused you to become so bitter and ugly that you have become a foul odor that is a stench in the nostrils of God? Or do you spend time with Him, soaking in the fragrance of the Lord, so that you carry the aroma of His love?
Those that abide in Him are destined to receive ‘the crown of glory that fadeth not away’. Those that don’t are doomed to hear the words, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’.
Richard Wurmbrand, who is known around the world as ‘the Living Martyr’ tells this story about a group of Romanian prisoners who were imprisoned and tortured solely for their faith. They were lined up naked before a firing squad, their clothes at their feet, and told that if they merely renounced Christ they could pick up their clothes, leave and not be executed. Only one man grabbed his clothes and left his place. The moment he did, one of the guards immediately threw down his rifle, started tearing off his clothes and ran for that vacant spot.
The commanding officer screamed and ranted, threatening to shoot him, but the young guard shouted back, "When that man left his place, a crown of glory appeared, rays shining down over his vacant spot, radiating and glowing, and if he does not want it, I do!"
Copyright Donna Martonfi www.psalm40ministries.com Submitted 7/26/2003 5:33:35 PM | Post Comment