Photo credit: Bill Lusk
I have come to believe that I don’t spend enough time pondering the goodness of God. It’s all around me. A day doesn’t begin without the splendor, majesty, and goodness of God unfolding before me.
In particular, I don’t think I’ve pondered God’s goodness in simply living in the state of North Carolina. I was born in Winston-Salem. I lived in Charlotte growing up. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’ve lived in Charlotte since 1980. I’ve raised all my kids here. Now I’m seeing my grandkids grow up as North Carolinians. It is a great state in which to live.
What are some of the goodnesses of the Lord that we should see in this great state?
The sky. Most every day it’s Carolina blue. Some days its splendor takes my breath away. God must love the Tar Heel state, for he made its sky Carolina blue! Lord, you are good!
The beach and mountains. Go west and you behold God’s goodness in the majesty of the Appalachian Mountains. Go toward the east and you soak in the goodness of our white beaches and blue-green water. If you prefer one to the other, that’s your choice. If you like both, you are in paradise. Lord, you are good!
The weather. There are four distinct seasons. Every three months or so a new beauty is on the horizon, unleashed on all North Carolina citizens, but none are too severe or long-lasting. Who can begin to describe the splendor of the fall? When the leaves change to different colors of the rainbow, our breath is taken away. This event can only be challenged when the azaleas start to bloom in the spring. Lord, you are good!
The history. We are one of the original 13 colonies. We’ve given presidents to our union. We take pride in the fact that General Cornwallis, during the Revolutionary War, said North Carolinians were like hornets — fierce fighters determined to hold their ground and win. That resolve hasn’t much changed! We take pride that the first aircraft to fly did so on our coast. We take pride in the roles Greensboro and Charlotte played in the civil rights movement. We admire Coach Dean Smith for bringing African-American player Charlie Scott on to his UNC basketball team in the 1960s, thus integrating basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Many North Carolinians since have committed to judge others by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Lord, you are good!
The schools. We believe the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first public university in the country. More great schools, both public and private, have followed.
Tens of thousands of people have been trained for service and life in our schools. They are as good as any in the nation and world. Moreover, who among us doesn’t celebrate the sports rivalries at these schools, especially in January and February when basketball players at UNC and Duke lace up their sneakers to go to war? Is there a better sports rivalry around? Lord, you are good!
The faith. The epicenter of Presbyterianism is in Mecklenburg County. The ministry of Charlotte’s own Billy Graham has touched millions worldwide. Seminaries from other states have moved here to place campuses. Why have they moved here? They recognize the importance of faith in the Carolinas. They know how many people have a meaningful faith, one that moves them toward ministries of compassion, both locally and globally. Plus, there is a reflection of all faiths in our great state. They are welcomed to practice their faith freely, without discrimination. Lord, you are good!
The people. When people say, “Glad you’re here. Y’all come on over,” they usually mean it! Neighbors are indeed neighbors. Southern hospitality is not a hackneyed euphemism. They genuinely care. It’s part of our Southern charm. It’s what makes us special and unique. Lord, you are good!
All of us go through depressing days. We all experience those times when life is frustrating. Some days we wonder why we keep moving forward.
When you have one of those days, as I most certainly do, here’s an idea: Take a moment to meditate and pray. Look at a map of North Carolina. Go outside and look at the sky. Plan a trip to the mountains and/or the beach. Both are possible, you know! Invite a neighbor over to the house. Plant a few flowers for the spring. Plan an autumn trip. Sing, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.”
I pray the citizens of North Carolina will always remember that “… the Lord is good and his love endures forever.”