I n the city of Enterprise, Alabama is one of the most amazing statues in all North America. It is a large statue of a boll weevil. A boll weevil! Why in the world would anyone erect a statue to a boll weevil?
Back in the 1800s the No. 1 industry of Enterprise, Alabama, indeed, of most of the Deep South, was cotton. Cotton was king. Everyone who farmed in Enterprise, Alabama raised cotton. And every industry was related to cotton in one way or another. Without cotton they were convinced that they didn’t have a civilization.
Then one year the boll weevils moved in and totally wiped out the crops. The destruction was catastrophic. The farmers faced starvation. They didn’t even have seed for another year. And the merchants, bankers—every industry in the town—faced bankruptcy and ruin.
Every business was going under. The town was being blown away. They didn’t know what to do or where to turn. A special prayer service was held seeking God’s help, asking God to show them what they should do. Then they started looking around for some kind of solution and they discovered peanuts.
Of course, they had always known about peanuts but never had anyone considered farming peanuts. They studied the possibility, decided that it was a good one and started farming peanuts. An amazing thing happened that changed their lives and turned everything around. Within six years the farmers of Enterprise, Alabama and all the businesses that depended on the farmers were making five times as much from peanuts as they had made from cotton.
It was out of that experience that they decided to build a statue to the boll weevil. From that day to this that statue has served as a permanent reminder. It says to every person in Enterprise, Alabama, indeed to people everywhere, that just because a door closes, it doesn’t mean that life is over.
Soon or late all of us come to closed doors. And the great truth is that no matter what door closes on you, as long as you live in Jesus Christ you have life eternal and abundant. For the same God who did good by and for and through you in the past is still with you in the present and will be with you in the future.
That which you lose, as incredibly wonderful as it may have been, the God who gave it is still there and will give great gifts for the future. Even when the day comes for the door of death itself to be slammed in your face, God is still there, his grace is still good, and his plans for you stretch into eternity.
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.