2001-10-10 - Edifying Examples
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
If you have read these devotionals for any length of time, you may have figured out that I love Christian history. I wanted to give you two examples today that I hope will be edifying to you. The first one shows how God can use anyone and that even in the midst of great physical challenges, one can grow in grace and have a dynamic walk with Christ. The second one made me think about the people on the planes that were hijacked last month. It is about the response of some people who were on a burning ship and knew they would die. It made me think about how I would respond to similar circumstances and wonder how those people on the hijacked planes may have responded to impending death. Both these stories were found in the Scottish Christian Herald, published in 1836.
The following was related by Dr. Gregory of Woolwich in the year 1815:
More than twelve months ago, I went pursuant to the request of a poor but benevolent-hearted women,in my neighborhood, to visit and indigent man deeply afflicted. On entering the cottage, I found him alone, his wife having gone to procure him milk from a kind neighbor. I was startled by the sight of a pale, emaciated man, a living image of death, fastened upright in his chair, by a rude mechanism of cords and belts hanging from the ceiling. He was totally unable to move either hand or foot, having for more than four years been entirely deprived of the use of his limbs, yet the whole time suffering extreme anguish from swellings at all his joints.
"Are you left alone, my friend, in this deplorable condition?" "No, sir," he replied, "I am not alone, for God is with me." On advancing, I soon discovered a Bible lying open on his knees. I sat down and conversed with him. I asked him if he ever felt tempted to repine under the pressure of so long-continued and heavy calamity? "I have learned," he said, "from this book in whom to believe; and, though I am aware of my weakness and unworthiness, I am persuaded that he will never leave me nor forsake me. And so it is, that often, when my lips are closed with locked jaw, and I cannot speak to the glory of God, he enables me to sing his praises in my heart."
This, and much more, did I hear during my first visit. And in my subsequent visits (for I am not ashamed to say that often, for my own benefit, have I been to the cottage of this afflicted man), I generally found him with his Bible on his knees, and uniformly witnessed like resignation flowing from the blessing of God upon the constant perusal of his Holy Word. He died with a hope full of immortality and is now gone to the rest which remains for the people of God. And gladly would I sink into the obscurity of the same cottage; gladly even would I languish in the same chair, could I but enjoy the same uninterrupted communion with God.
Christian Resignation: The writer of the interesting narrative of the loss of the Kent, in 1825 states that when the vessel was on fire, several of the soldiers' wives and children, who had fled for temporary shelter into the after cabins on the upper decks, were engaged in prayer and in reading the Scriptures. The dignified deportment of two young ladies, in particular, formed a specimen of natural strength of mind, finely modified by Christian feeling, that failed not to attract the notice and admiration of everyone who had an opportunity of witnessing it.
When the announcement was made that all hope must be relinquished, and that death was rapidly and inevitably approaching, one of the ladies above referred to, calmly sinking down on her knees, and clasping her hands together, said, "Even so come, Lord Jesus!" and immediately proposed to read a portion of the Scriptures to those around her. Her sister, with nearly equal composure and collectedness of mind, selected the forty-sixth and other appropriate Psalms; which were accordingly read, with intervals of prayer, to the assembled people.
Soli Deo Gloria,