Standing on God’s Promises: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy and Hope for the Future

February 18, 2021

In February 2021, Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan, held its first Annual MLK Jr. Writing Contest in honor of Black History Month. Students were asked to respond to the essential question, “Where do you stand in times of challenge and controversy?” This question was inspired by Dr. King’s own words: “The ultimate measure of a [person] is not where [they] stand in moments of comfort and convenience but where [they] stand at times of challenge and controversy.” Two students were chosen as winners.

By Carrington Wash, Class of 2024

Dr. Martin Luther King writing contest winner Carrington Wash.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American minister and a civil rights activist who advocated for justice and equality for all people. Dr. King wanted the citizens of our nation and all over the world to understand the power and beauty of social equality for all people. A man of God, Dr. King promoted his vision of equality through peace and nonviolence. A rising leader, Dr. King used his oratorical skills to organize and unify people of all races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds to combat racism and social inequality.

As I reflect on Dr. King’s words, I am inspired and know the power of leadership through God’s word. My faith in God and His word have allowed me to be resilient and find peace during challenges.

As a student, Dr. King’s words inspire me through the challenges of COVID-19 and the transition to virtual learning at home. Online learning is a new journey for me. I knew how to be a successful student at school, but how would this look full time at home? During challenging times, I stand on God’s promises to see me through. One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Like Dr. King’s word, God’s word gives me the power to believe in myself and therefore see challenges as new opportunities to learn and grow. My transition to online learning has allowed me to become more knowledgeable regarding technology and empowered me as a student.

My moral identity continues to be defined as I grow and meet more people in a variety of situations. My values of honesty, kindness and fairness were instilled in me as a young child, and I continue to develop these characteristics as I grow as a Christian. Unfortunately, I have experienced situations where people have been in church and school and have not been kind to one another. My moral identity has often led me to find peace by myself or with a small group of people, because I will not be influenced by challenges and negativity. I stand on God’s promises of kindness and peace. Another one of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 34:14, “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an advocate for peace and kindness, I always strive to be kind to people and seek peace.

During the summer of 2020, social injustice became a wound that would not heal. There were marches and protests that occurred across the country to combat the evil ways of racism. Often, as I watched the news, I thought I was a teenager in 1960, but I was actually trying to make sense of my reality in 2020. Once again, I had to stand on God’s promises of peace and comfort to see me through. I found joy talking to my maternal grandmother, an African-American woman who was raised in the segregated South. My grandmother gave me wisdom, through shared experiences, to understand how God’s hope will see one through situations that are unjust and unfair. My grandmother shared her favorite Bible verse with me, Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” My hope through God’s Word gives me peace and understanding just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words do.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I stand for peace, hope and kindness during challenging times and controversy. Ultimately, God’s word is the key that gives me the strength to walk with God and leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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  1. Rita Valade RSM

    I wish to join with you as you stand for peace, hope and kindness, relying on God for strength and direction. Thank you Carrington.

  2. Julia Monaco

    How beautifully and poignantly stated our absolute dependence on our God! The more we surrender and trust the more powerful is the work of Jesus in us!

  3. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM

    Thank you, Carrington, for some heartwarming words on a cold winter day!

  4. Sr Vicky Arndorfer

    As a Sister of Mercy, your commitment to peace, hope, and kindness gives me great hope. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sister Brian Latour

    Nice reflection on God’s promise to be always with us. Thank you for your insights.

  6. Miriam Nugent RSM

    Thank you so much Carrington for sharing so beautifully. It certainly gives me hope that people like you are here and value honesty and integrity.

  7. Rosemary Hudak

    Your words Carrington are hopeful and inspiring. God bless you. I know you will lead a joyful life because you rely on God and look to those who can mentor you on the path to peace.

  8. Mary Daly RSM

    Thank you, Carrington, for your hope filled and encouraging words.

  9. Charles McDonald

    The United States of America needs a lot more students like you. May God bless you.

  10. Janet Rozzano

    This is a very thoughtful and faith-filled reflection. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  11. Denise Sausville, RSM

    I am so very touched by the way that you have taken the words of Scripture and the examples of MLK and your grandmother, and let these words and examples inspire hope in you. Now, you are inspiring hope in others. Thank you!

  12. Sister Natalie Rossi

    Thank you Carrington for you inspirational words. Your values of honesty, kindness and fairness are values all of us should live by. What a wonderful Grandmother you have. May your journey be filled with much love and hope.

  13. Sister Louise Foisy

    Carrington, I so admire and appreciate your intimate sharing, full of love for your family and your grandmother’s wisdom. You have chosen a life in company with peacemakers, educators, classmates and spirit-filled people whose values you admire and share. May they support you well in challenging time.

  14. Jacqueline Dewar, RSM

    Thank you for such a beautiful reflection. You are a special person!

  15. Jeannine Burch

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. It is sad that young people today are still having to suffer the injustices that my generation suffered. I pray every day for an end to racial prejudices and injustices!

  16. Ann VonderMeulen, OSF

    How blessed you are, Carrigan, to have absorbed such wisdom through young and old who have shaped your life. Being a reflective and active young woman, I know you’ll be able to pass on this treasure you’ve been given. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Fran Repka

    Thank you ever so much for this Scriptural and real-life reflection, Carrington.
    You, yourself, are HOPE for our future. Lenten Blessings…

  18. Fran Repka

    Thank you ever so much for this Scriptural and real-life reflection, Carrington.
    You yourself are our HOPE for the future. Lenten Blessings…