Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, June 3 - Stormy Seas

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” — Isaiah 43:2

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When Anthony Burger was just 8 months old, one of the wheels of his baby walker got caught on the floor furnace grate, flipping him over on top of the heater. He suffered third degree burns on his face, hands and legs. He was carried around on a pillow for the next year and took three medicated baths per day for the burns. Doctors were certain he would not ever be able to move his hands.

The family felt like they were drowning due to major hardships, but they did not give up praying. Anthony started playing the piano at only the age of 3. He played “The Old Rugged Cross” in front of his church congregation that year, and soon became the youngest student ever to be accepted by the Cadek Conservatory for special training when he was only 5 years old. He was seen as a child prodigy.

Playing the piano became a way of life for Anthony. He enjoyed and played all kinds of music, but he felt a special calling from God to play Gospel music — he saw it as a blessing and a direct gift from God. He became the pianist for one of Gospel music’s most popular quartets, The Kingsmen, when he was 16 and traveled across the country and to different parts of the world. He was considered one of the top five pianists in Gospel music by the time he was 17.

Along the way, he got married and he and his wife had three children. Anthony trusted God through the various storms of life. The Lord says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…” (Isaiah 43:2). He knew God would keep His promises to keep his head above water and carry him to a better place. He had already seen it countless times in his life.

Anthony was known throughout his career to tell of how God healed his hands and playing the piano was his way of praising God. He once stated, “I am a simple man with a majestic instrument and the power of God behind me.”

After about 15 years of accompanying The Kingsmen, Anthony became the pianist for the Gaither Homecoming Series. One night as he was playing the song “Keep on the Firing Line” during a concert on a working vacation tour of a Caribbean cruise, he suffered chest pains and, sadly, CPR was unsuccessful. The Lord carried him safely to the Heavenly shore as Anthony was doing what he loved best on this earth.

As Jesus assured His disciples when they were terrified by the stormy seas, Jesus also comforted Burger’s wife, children and others going through similar circumstances. “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid'” (Matthew 14:27).

God promises He will be with us when we face the storms of life, and while the waters may feel deep and overwhelming, they will not overtake us. When we look to Jesus, we can take courage to trust Him to comfort and carry us through our storms. Just as with Burger and his hands, we may even find that some of our biggest storms become our greatest testimonies to point others to Jesus.

God can use our greatest hurts to write a beautiful life song. It is up to us to choose to praise Him through it — and with it — all.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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