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
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.