Summary: This message focuses on the song "His Grace Is Greater" by Larnelle Harris.
Songs Of Our Faith Part 7A
His Grace Is Greater
By: Larnelle Harris
Scripture: John 14:27; Phil. 4:7; 4:19; Rev. 21:4; Jer. 29:11
This morning I will review a song that is very personal to me. This song functions as a reminder of a time in my life when I thought I had my life planned out only to find out that my plans were not needed in God’s plans. Although I could not confirm the original author of the lyrics, the person that I heard sing this song for the first time was Larnelle Harris, a well-known gospel singer and Deacon at his church in Kentucky. Let me tell you how this song came to be one of the songs in my life that grounded me back to the knowledge that my life is in God’s hands and that God is in control especially when my faith is being tested by this life.
I. My Testimony
The story behind how this song came to impact my life actually began 8 years before I ever heard it. In July of 1981 I enlisted into the United States Air Force. I made this decision to go into the military because it was the only way I would be able to go to college and obtain a 4-year degree like my older brother Barry. I, like my brother Delrick and our father, enlisted into the military as a way of accomplishing a task that I could not otherwise accomplish. I did not know or understand at the time how much of what was happening in my life was being directed by God. When I enlisted, I entered classified as “Open/General” which meant I could be assigned to any field based on how I performed throughout basis training and what my interests were. However, the Air Force’s needs would override my personal interest so if I chose something that was not an immediate need for them I would be assigned to where they needed me most.
Approximately four weeks into my six weeks of basis training I was trained on the M16 rifle. During that training we had to learn to how break down and reassemble the rifle and pass the firing test. It was during this training that my career choice was confirmed. I was on my way to earning a marksman award when one of the trainers told me that there was a need for military policemen and those who do well would probably be assigned to the military police squad. I did not have a desire to become a military police so once I knew that my score was high enough to pass the overall test I began shooting at the targets of the two individuals on either side of me. I do not know if I helped them pass or not but I did not qualify to become a military police. If I had I became a military police I probably would not be in Kansas today as my whole career would have been different. I know that God had a hand in this from day one. I knew He wanted me in the military but I did not fully understand why as I thought it was my decision only. I elected to go into the medical field because in my mind I could be stationed anywhere because there were medics at every military installation. That career choice opened the door for me to be in the field I am in currently and the military became an extension of my family. They provided for everything that I needed. I lived in a military dorm which was a secure environment with little to no crime. I had a guaranteed income and free housing. When Nikki and I got married we lived in base housing and shopped at the base commissary where our grocery bill averaged $50 every two weeks. This was the comfortable life that we lived.
In 1989, against the wishes of some family members, my military friends and others, I elected to get out of the Air Force after serving for 8 years. As I was preparing for my separation, Nikki’s supervisor suggested that I look into the pharmaceutical sales career field. Initially I rejected the idea as I did not want any job with the words sales in it. However, because I respected him I took his advice. I started interviewing with Johnson and Johnson (J&J) two months before I got out. After the first interview I was hooked and decided that this was the industry for me. When my last day came I still did not have a job but I knew one was right around the corner. I believed I was doing the right thing and I was ready. I was also seeing myself in pharmaceutical sales. How many times have you “felt” you were being led to do something and then doubted when the going got rough? That was me. You see, I did not get the job with J&J because I did not have sales experience. I was crushed but decided that I would eventually get into that field. I believed in my heart that God wanted me at J&J and that one day I would get there. My last day in the Air Force was around the first of April and I had a few weeks of leave time saved up so I got paid for an additional 30 days after I was discharged. Everything was fine during that first 30 days because I was still getting paid. During that time I tried to get some sales experience. I signed on to sell replacement windows door to door – which did not suit me at all. I quit that after two weeks and signed on to sell coupon advertising. That company turned out to be a sham so I did not stay there. This all happened within five weeks of me leaving the Air Force.