Posts Tagged ‘christian writers’

“Broken Purposes but Answered Prayers”

April 17, 2016

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I discovered this old book quite by accident one morning this week. Written by an English lady with the unusual name of “Anna Boobbyer,” I feel that I am going to find a wealth of spiritual treasure in this antiquarian volume with its old cloth cover! Under the title on the cover of the book are these words:

“Make use of me, my God.

Let me not be forgot,

A broken vessel cast aside

One whom thou needest not.”

The words somehow struck a chord with me. How easy it is to feel discouraged when you are weary and perhaps not feeling as optimistic about life as you once did. Ill health (or even just the aging process!) certainly has the potential to take its toll on your enthusiasm and then when this old life throws other problematic issues your way for good measure, well…

However, my eyes scanned the title page of the book. This book was in its third edition, with over 31,000 copies having been produced! On the very first page of chapter one, I read these words by the author… “I was only two-and-twenty, and in buoyant health and spirits, when in one short day, from mountain climbing, my bodily sufferings began; and my hopes, desires, and prayers for an active life in the Master’s service were utterly crushed, and “all my purposes were broken off,” like poor Job, when those sad words were wrung from his aching heart.” She has written… “it is forty years today (1893) since I became an invalid – for life, unless my heavenly Father should interpose, and heal me in my old age, as I am now sixty-three.”

Yet, as my eyes skim this book by a lady who was “confined to two rooms,” I see a wealth of experiences which, when shared, have the potential to touch hearts and be mightily used of the Lord. I began to think of some hymn writers who also suffered from ill health or were incapacitated in some way. Frances Ridley Havergal suffered much in her short life, surviving almost fatal typhoid in 1874. She said: “Pain as to God’s own children, is truly and really only blessing in disguise. It is but His chiselling, one of His engraving tools.” Frances trusted the Lord to save her at age fourteen and some years later, in 1873, declared: “I was shown that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,’ and then it was made plain to me that he who cleansed me had power to keep me clean; so I just utterly yielded myself to Him and utterly trusted Him to keep me.” Despite the brevity of her life (for she died at forty-three) her numerous hymns, inspired by the Holy Spirit, continue to speak on to souls over a century later.

Another hymn writer (Fanny Crosby) was blind for her entire life, from the time that she was only six weeks old. She said: “It may have been a blunder on the physician’s part, but it was no mistake of God’s. I verily believe that it was God’s intention that I should live my days in physical darkness, so as to be better prepared to sing his praise.” For me her beautiful hymns had almost a heavenly perspective. Perhaps, because she had never been able to see the vain things of this life, her spiritual sight was intensified…

“Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershadowed,

Sweetly my soul shall rest.

Hark, ‘tis the voice of angels,

Borne in a song to me,

Over the fields of glory,

Over the jasper sea.”

Prolific hymn writers and those in other areas of the Lord’s service have very often been subjected to what the rest of the world only sees as ‘terrible misfortune.’ Yet the ‘broken vessel’ is the one which the Master will use for His glory. I am sure there were times when Anna Boobbyer, Frances Ridley Havergal and Fanny Crosby shed silent tears but praise God He has “wiped away all tears from their eyes.”

What an encouragement to know that today the Lord can use the broken vessel mightily; our tears, born of dark experiences and recorded in poignant words, can live on for years to come; to encourage, convict and warm the hearts of other needy souls, perhaps long after we have departed this scene of time and “‘till He come.”

 

On Genealogy – and a Spiritual Inheritance

May 23, 2011

It must have been a nostalgic moment for President Obama when he first encountered the little Irish village of Moneygall in County Offaly, from where his great-great-great grandfather emigrated in 1850. I had similar feelings when I first visited the tiny cottage on the shores of Lough Neagh, where my great-grandmother gave birth to ten children. Not all of those children lived into adulthood and of those who survived, many emigrated to the U.S.A, because of the economic circumstances of the time. I often wonder are there any descendants of those children still alive today… Photographs of my ancestors were passed on to me by an elderly relative – and a wedding ring belonging to that same great-grandmother who had the ten children. To this day I wear it, this precious heirloom… and I will pass it on to my eldest daughter.

I often daydream about the life of my hard-working great-grandmother (Mrs. Elizabeth Turkington) who lived under such humble circumstances. But where are they today, the descendants of those daughters who emigrated in the nineteenth century? Sometimes I take the well-worn ring off, hold it in the palm of my hand and dream of how it must have been for her all those years ago…

Someday, when I get the time, I hope to delve into old church records pertaining to my ancestors in that area. Perhaps after much research I may even find at least one descendant from that original family who is still alive! I believe that as we grow older, that yearning to find our ancestral roots grows more intense and yet I know that for those who belong to the Lord, it is more important by far to reach our living relations with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The years pass for us all, with their joys and sorrows, just as it did for our ancestors from long ago. One generation follows another quite quickly and a few generations later we will be forgotten of those who still live on the earth. Still, I believe that Christian writers who live in this age can leave an inheritance of spiritual significance, for the words that we write can live on to challenge, convict and encourage.

I would therefore encourage those who have a sincere desire to reach out to souls – to keep writing to the glory of their Lord and Saviour. Yes, there will be discouragements and there will be those who misunderstand or even mock your efforts – but your writings can survive the rolling years, inspiring others long after you have been taken Home.

Antique heirlooms and photographs may be beautiful possessions – but how wonderful to know that the Christian’s writings can survive to reach future generations with the truth and love that has been gleaned from God’s precious Word. “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45v1)

The Rewards for the Christian Writer – Remembering a Cold November Day in Düsseldorf

November 18, 2010

I have poignant memories of the moment I held my first book in my hands. “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year” wasn’t just something that I had dreamed up or concocted from many little true experiences. No, I can honestly say that the Lord guided my every word, including apt quotes from the Bible. I write because He has commanded me to do so and my prayer is that He might always have the glory and that souls may touched, encouraged and challenged by the words He has given me.

As a writer and distributor of Christian literature, I have had enormous joy in the process. I feel enriched – certainly not materially, but spiritually. The whole process is an onerous task which involves much more than writing but it is immensely rewarding to receive letters from individuals who have been comforted and encouraged in some way. Also, I have had so many adventures in the process of selling and distributing my books – enough to fill another book!

Yes, it was an encouragement to know that branches of well known bookstores like Waterstones and Easons, as well as other secular and Christian book outlets would stock my books, but even more encouraging are those seemingly small incidents when I know that the Lord is using them to reach individuals. I have made a list of all these ‘small’ incidents, for I know that they are of great significance in His eyes. Here is one…

In the late autumn of 2008 my husband and I were in Düsseldorf in Germany. I decided to use the occasion to donate a copy of my first book to the English section of the International Library of Düsseldorf, as I feel that libraries are a great way for Christians to spread the Word. But somehow, our short visit did not allow a visit the library and before I knew it, we were sitting in a taxi headed for the airport and our return flight. As I glanced wistfully at the book on my lap and proceeded to put it carefully into my hand luggage, I had this strange feeling that it was meant for someone…

It was a bitterly cold November day, as we crossed the Rhine where ducks and autumn leaves were floating in the icy waters. Later we boarded the plane which would bring us back to Dublin and I thought no more about the book. There weren’t so many passengers; I vaguely noticed a lady sitting directly across the aisle from us, her head in her hands. Then as the plane accelerated along the runway I noticed that this lady was sobbing in despair. Her whole body was shaking as she cried – something that made me want to comfort her. But… shouldn’t I mind my own business? After all, this was a stranger and perhaps she wouldn’t take kindly to me asking her what the matter was.

But as she continued to cry, I knew that I had to say something and it was at that point that the Lord revealed to me who the book was meant for. After a while I quietly made my way across the aisle and sat beside her. I cannot remember my precise words to her, but I wanted so much to be guided of the Lord in my choice of words. She seemed a little embarrassed at first but after a while this German lady dried her tears and accepted the book with thanks. I didn’t ask her why she had been crying but she told me. “My mother has just died,” she said. She had flown back to Düsseldorf for the funeral and now she was making her way back to Ireland.

After wishing her well and telling her that I would pray for her, I moved over to sit beside my husband again, with tears in my own eyes now. A small incident perhaps, but “His eye seeth every precious thing.” (Job 28v10) I have no doubt about that and I have no doubt that the Lord continued to speak to this lady – and still does today. The written word can go anywhere in the world, touching a million hearts in the process but it must be based on the greatest literature ever given to mankind – “the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” (1Peter 1v23) Yes, the words of mankind will some day pass away but I thank God, the Divine Author, for His inspired Word which will never pass away. May His Name be praised!