Seeing What’s Ahead

One of the most interesting books I’ve read recently is the memoir of the Secret Service agent, Col. Edmund W. Starling, who guarded the lives of five presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt.

Colonel Starling became especially close to President Calvin Coolidge, and he was present at the Summer White House in the Black Hills of South Dakota when Coolidge announced he would not seek another term. “Silent Cal” didn’t make the announcement from the microphones. He wrote out one sentence on a piece of paper – “I do not choose to run for President in nineteen twenty-eight” – and gave it to an aide to have a number of copies made and passed out to reporters.

The announcement caused a sensation. Anytime a president chooses not to run for another term in office, it’s a great surprise. People wanted to know what Calvin Coolidge was stepping out of office. Colonel Starling was as mystified as anyone. He thought it had to do with the grief Coolidge felt over his son’s death, or perhaps Mrs. Coolidge was not well.

But Colonel Starling learned the real truth later. One day several months after the announcement as Coolidge and Starling were taking one of their daily walks, Coolidge said, “Well, they’re going to elect that superman Hoover, and he’s going to have some trouble. He’s going to have to spend money. Then they will want me to come back and save some money for them. But I won’t do it.”

Coolidge spoke the words, “I won’t do it,” in his most stubborn manner, and during the discussion, Starling later said, “I also knew, then, his practical reason for not running again. He saw economic disaster ahead. In the years that following I was amazed at the absolute accuracy of his prediction. Truly, he was a longheaded thinker.”[i]

In other words, Calvin Coolidge was a shrewd man who could discern the future. He knew the Great Depression was coming. He knew it was unavoidable. And he didn’t want to go down in history as the President of the Great Depression. He left office just in time and let Herbert Hoover be known as the President of the Great Depression.

If we are longheaded thinkers today, we can see a convergence of events that parallels the prophecies of Scripture and warns us we’re entering the last days and we’re drawing nearer to the Great Tribulation. We ought to evaluate everything in life in view of our Lord’s swift and certain coming. We ought to anticipate the future and look forward to being caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. For Jesus said: When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

PS – For my entire message from Luke 21 on the Second Coming of Christ, click here.


[i] Colonel Edmund W. Starling, Starling of the White House (Chicago: Peoples Book Club, publication date listed as 1916), 263.

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