Just finished reading Bill O'Reilly's book, "Killing Lincoln:The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever". The book focuses on the life of Abraham Lincoln in the two weeks prior to his death and ends with the capture of John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators. Although I was somewhat familiar with some of the details of Lincoln's death, there were numerous facts which Mr. O'Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard brought to my attention. For example, I never knew that Ford's Theater was originally a Baptist church. That's right. From 1833-1859, it was the First Baptist Church of Washington. In 1859, The First Baptist Church congregation merged with The Fourth Baptist Church and moved out of the facility. The property was purchased by theater manager John T. Ford from Baltimore and opened as a state of the art performance facility in 1863.
So, at one time, it was a church, a place which brings many glorious thoughts to mind. You see, for me, going to church is a peaceful place. Since I was born again in 1975, I have attended church regularly since that time except for when I was "providentially hindered", e.g. couldn't make it to church due to work or sickness. However, the joy of worshipping my Savior, fellowshipping with other believers and hearing God's Word proclaimed is something I relish on a weekly basis. In that place, I feel love, I feel comfort, and I feel happiness. It is a wonderful place of refuge from the harshness of life.
Even though Ford's Theater was no longer a church, in a sense, it was still a happy place. Audiences came, laughed, cheered, cried and sang as skilled performers entertained them on a nightly basis. It was a respite from the world. Even our sixteenth president saw it as a welcome relief to escape from the anguish of the recent Civil War.
Hence, it saddens me to think of the tragedy that occurred in Ford's Theater on the night of April 14th, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot the President. In one night, the whole theater changed. It would no longer be known for its actors but for its assassin. As a result, after the shooting, Congress felt it was no longer appropriate to use the theater to entertain others so it was purchased from Mr. Ford and converted to a federal office building. Not until 1968 was it reopened as a theater again, well over one hundred years after the tragedy that had occurred in its midst.
It is said that time heals all wounds, whether it be a diagnosis of cancer or another tragedy in life. It took well over a century for Ford's Theater to be restored to its former glory. Although it may take many years to recover, we must continually trust the Heavenly Father to one day turn our mourning into dancing. Furthermore, the Bible encourages us to "not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." (Galatians 6:8 NASB)
You can learn more about my cancer victory and insights I gained from the battle by reading my book, "A Place I Didn't Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer". It can be accessed at: