Annie’s Story…

annie-johnson-flintAnnie’s Story…

Her mother died when she was 3-years old, giving birth to her baby sister.
Her father died when she was 6.
Before he died, he made arrangements for a childless couple to raise Annie and her little sister.
As a teenager, the rheumatoid arthritis set in.
And by the time she was in her twenties, she was permanently crippled by it, sent to live in a long-term care facility for the rest of her life, in part because her foster parents had also died.
Gnarled hands, twisted fingers.
Permanently in a wheelchair.
Unable to meet her own most basic needs.
She lived 66 years.

A hard life by any description.

And yet, she was a poet.
From her earliest elementary years she wrote poetry.
And through her last years, she wrote poetry.
As well as long, humorous chatty letters to friends to encourage them.
With gnarled hands and twisted fingers.

Because she gave her life to Jesus at the age of 8. And she understood what Paul meant when he wrote about his own trials. Paul said that he had a “thorn in the flesh” that he begged God to remove. But God’s answer was this:,
“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”

And Annie also agreed with Paul’s reply back to God:
“Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].”
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Some of Annie’s poems became hymns.
And this morning I was telling God how weary I am.
How I truly don’t have this day in me.
How the circumstances of my life have ganged up on me this past week to make me so very tired.
And He brought to mind this line from this hymn – written by Annie Johnson Flint:

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done…

Which led me to looking up the rest of the words – and Annie’s story.
Her testimony to the incredible faithfulness of God.
With crippled hands.
Incredible pain.
And a twisted body.
From a sanitarium.
In an era when those were not even close to being nice places. (She died in 1932.)

In those conditions she wrote – and lived – these Truths:

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

I am weary.
But my Father is not.
I am at a loss for how to solve some of the issues of my life.
But my Father is not.
I have exhausted my resources.
But my Father has not.
So with Annie and Paul, I will “lean hard on the arm everlasting”.
Knowing that these two are among the “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before. (Hebrews 11 and 12)
And knowing that the Father has not and will not change. Their testimony is mine as well.

Blessed be His name! May you also learn today and daily that His grace has no limits and His power has no boundary known unto man.

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