Suzanna Wesley is a lady who was born in 1669. She was born in England, the daughter of a preacher, while the famous John Bunyan was imprisoned for his faith. She was the last of 25 children, many of which did not live to adulthood. She married a preacher who preached revival and holy living all his life. Susanna had 19 children, of which only 10 lived to adulthood. She has been an inspiration to many ladies because she is the mother of John Wesley, who is the very well known founder of the Methodist movement of the 1700’s. Also John had a brother, Charles, who was three years old than he was. Charles was also a founder of Methodism, but is best known for his 8000 hymns of the faith that we use in church services all over the world. Charles and John were both converted in 1738, and were part of the First Great Awakening in England. They were seeing converts to Christianity in England, when Jonathan Edwards was preaching messages like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in America.
Susanna Wesley wrote to her son John Wesley with this
definition of sin:.
….”whatever weakens your reason,
impairs the tenderness of your conscience,
obscures your sense of God,
or takes off your relish of spiritual things;
whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”
One day one of her daughters wished to do something which was not altogether bad, but which was not the best thing to do. When the daughter was told not to do it, she was not convinced. It was late at night, and she and her mother were sitting beside a dead fire. Her mother said to her,
“Pick up that bit of coal.”
“I don’t want to,” said the girl.
“Go on,” said Susanna. “The fire is out; it won’t burn you.”
“I know that,” said the girl.
“I know it won’t burn me, but it will blacken my hands.”
“Exactly,” said Susanna Wesley.
“That thing which you wish to do won’t burn, but it will blacken.
Leave it alone.”
Hannah ( 1 Samuel 1:1-28 )
This lady is a great encouragement to ladies of all walks of life.
She endured persecution from another lady that did not like her. This hatred came out of deep jealousy.
It was mean, vindictive, and constant. This lady meant to hurt her and make her life totally miserable.
Do you know this kind of persecution?
Hannah was loved by her husband, and she was cared for by him.
But she had a deep grief in her life that was even deeper than the constant tormenting that she was subjected to by this other lady.
Her grief was barrenness. She was grieving the fact that the Lord had not given her a child.
She did the right thing.
In verse 10 and 11 it says “she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept bitterly.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid,
and remember me…but will give unto thine handmaid a male child, then I will give him unto the Lord…”
She prayed so hard the priest noticed her and spoke with her.
She told him she was a “woman of a sorrowful spirit….and have poured out my soul before the Lord” ( verse 15 ).
She spoke ( verse 16 ) out of the abundance of “grief” to the Lord.
Do you know this kind of deep grief?
Hannah went to the Lord earnestly in her grief and sorrow.
She poured out her soul before the Lord. This was true worship.
She emptied herself of herself before the Lord, and worshiped Him in Spirit and Truth.
Corrie and Betsie ten Boom:
“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”
This is the phrase that Corrie ten Boom is most famous for speaking. These words have resonated with many because of the hope they convey to anyone who has experienced pain or loss. They have even more of an impact coming from Corrie because of the immense suffering she faced in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
But these words weren’t originally spoken by Corrie. In Ravensbrück, a brutal death camp in the heart of Germany, her sister, Betsie, whispered this to Corrie just before dying from the extreme winter conditions: “We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”
Sarah Edwards…… a lady of great faith at the time of the First Great Awakening.
Sarah Edwards was the wife of one of America’s greatest theologians, Jonathan Edwards. In her narrative (in the year 1742) she chronicled the grace of God in opening the eyes of her heart to receive an uncommonly clear sight of His love made manifest in Christ crucified. As she beheld Him in His beauty, she was melted into His image and transformed into His likeness. To use the words of Solomon, she was “lovesick.” Her heart was lifted up to heaven to partake of the sweetest, most holy communion with God. She experienced a holy intercourse with God which she described as a constant flowing back and forth of love. Everything on earth seemed inconsequential, so long as she had Christ. The more she saw Him by faith, the more she saw her own sinfulness. She was grieved, humbled, and broken. Yet, at the same time, she abounded in joy, for the more she saw her own unworthiness, in contrast to His great worth, the more she could comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of His love in the giving up of Himself for her. O the praise that involuntarily springs up at such sights! These sights were what God used….. to free her from sin, wean her from the world, and grace her to surrender to His providence, as well as to enable her to overflow with love for the brethren, to be full of concern for the lost, to be committed to His glory above all things.