Why do bad things happen to good people?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but one that author, pastor and international business strategist Ron Archer shed light on during the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart National Prayer Breakfast in Feb. 9, 2010.
While today, Archer is a leadership consultant to four star generals and National Football League players, his life did not start out so successfully. He grew up in a single-parent house, struggled with a learning disability and stuttering disorder, and even tried to commit suicide at the age of 10.
However, life’s struggles can help people, like himself, to grow stronger, Archer said at the annual breakfast, sponsored by the garrison Religious Support Office.
“True heroes and true leaders are like tea bags,” he said. “You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in some hot water.”
In addition to providing personal growth, Archer said trials can be a catalyst for positive influence. He compared hardship to an olive press, crushing olives to produce olive oil.
“Without the crushing, without the pressing, without the process, there would be no liquid gold,” he said.
The U.S. Armed Forces have unique opportunities to positively influence others in the world, he added. “You are those spiritual tea bags, dropped in Afghanistan, dropped in Africa.”
Before influence, however, there must be prayer, Archer said. After all, he believes it was the prayers of his grandfather and fourth-grade teacher that set him free from a painful past.
“Prayer moves the heart of God,” Archer said. “That’s why we pray, in the midst of our difficulties.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by history and emphasized during this month, which is also African-American/Black History month. African-American civil rights leaders, including Rosa Park and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged at a time when they were persecuted for the color of their skin.
“He spoke on the past and he spoke on the future,” said Beatrice Springfield, a contractor in attendance. “Prayers [show] how far we have come and the mission and road we have ahead.”
Her husband, Brian, added that prayer unites people of all backgrounds. “There are not just African-Americans here,” he said. “Prayer changes [people].”
So, on the day set aside specifically for this, close to 200 heads bowed in a prayer for the community, led by Chaplian (Maj.) David Santiago Cruz, the garrison family life chaplain.
“I was encouraged to know that we’re not in despair, in spite of what situation we find ourselves in,” said Tonia Osaigbovo, a civilian and Army spouse, following the event. “That’s what this community needs: to come together in unity and pray.”
“True heroes and true leaders are like tea bags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in some hot water.”
Rev. Ron Archer
Pastor, author, business strategist