Never underestimate the impact a single act of obedience can have on your life and on those who remember your time on Earth. A missionary friend of mine told me the following story. I hope it encourages some of you who are in a challenging season of life.
Charlotte Elliot, the woman who wrote the famous hymn, Just As I Am, became ill from a serious disease in her early thirties. She spent the last fifty years of her life physically challenged from her disease and fought bouts of depression. She was confined to her home and unable to attend church services.
Charlotte had doubts about the significance of her life. A visiting pastor came to see her in her home and during the conversation said, “Come just as you are” to God. Upon hearing those words she gave her life to Christ. Years later, at age 45, Charlotte recalled those words and penned the words to the famous hymn, Just As I Am. That hymn was used long after her death to lead hundreds of thousands of people into salvation. The hymn was made famous by Billy Graham as the song of invitation at his crusades to encourage people to come to God, “just as you are”.
Charlotte is buried at St. Andrew’s Church, in East Sussex England in the churchyard cemetery. Also buried in that same small cemetery is George Everest whose name was used to identify the tallest mountain on Earth. One day a visiting missionary approached the cemetery groundskeeper and asked a question. The missionary said he noticed a well-worn path leading to the grave of Charlotte Elliot, but no path leading to the grave of Everest. The missionary wondered why. The groundskeeper said he gets hundreds of visitors each year wanting to visit Charlotte’s grave, but only a small handful come to visit Everest.
The memory of a man whose name adorns the highest point on earth is remembered in stark contrast to a sick and homebound woman who struggled with her faith. In the larger scheme of things it would be Charlotte’s obedience to a nudge of God’s Spirit that would produce a single hymn with the potential to impact history in a far more significant way than a notable name placed on the tallest mountain peak on Earth.
Your place of struggle and isolation can become a place of great personal creativity if you are willing to respond just as you are. Allow God to attach His name to your response of faith during the challenging of seasons of life and He will be able to do lofty things through you– things that will become testimonies placed on the highest peaks of eternity. Long after you are gone the rest of us will walk to your memory and create a well-worn path of testimony honoring the faithful God who loved you just as you are.