Two Men, Two Women, and God’s Will

I’d like to share a true story about four simple folk who never met nor knew of each other, yet their lives were used for one glorious purpose. I trust you will get a kick out of this story as well as catch a glimpse, or at least a tiny window crack into the mystery of how God works, God’s will and his desire for our lives.

I learned of this story when I was searching for the composer of the hymn, “God Leads His Dear Children Along”*.  I mentioned this hymn at the conclusion of my last blog post. All I did was connect these four individuals – two men and two women, in a particular time frame, only to discover a remarkable story.  Let me start with a short introduction to these four and then put them all together to get the whole picture.

The first man was George; he was a preacher (1903-?) and also a carpenter, which helped him make both ends meet. We call it “living by faith”. Financially, George’s family struggled, but somehow, he managed to build himself a small house. Sadly, while away preaching, local hooligans, who disliked his preaching, set fire and destroyed it. Not many have heard about George. There was no mention of this “Man of the Cloth” for his preaching and oratory. He did, however, love music and wrote a few Christian songs.

As for one of the ladies, we do not know much about her either – not even her name. It thrills me to no end to read these stories about people who are not “headline grabbers”. She did one noble thing, among many, I’m sure – she took an interest in a young immigrant child from Bergen, Norway. Since the poor child did not know English, she tutored him and also taught him to sing Hymns. One of the hymns was “God Leads His Dear Children Along”; an innovative method of teaching a new language! She led him to Jesus.

This brings me to the third person, the immigrant boy from Bergen, Born in 1895, he was just two when he landed in US. He took a special interest in Christian music. Guess where he got that from? Haldor Lillenas, that was his name, became the founder of a thriving music publishing company. You will see his name in many hymn books we use today. He was very interested, no wonder, in the song “God leads his dear children along”.

By now the clergyman/composer had died but his hymn had lived to become very popular. Lillenas determined to find out more about this composer. After an extensive search he found the location. A local gas attendant gave him further directions but warned it was a “poor locality”.

doxologyWho is the fourth person? She was a lady who organized and operated what one would call a place for the poor and “orphaned seniors.” What was her name? Surprise, surprise, her name was Mrs. George Young, the widow of the clergyman-carpenter-composer, whose famous hymn was used by the lady to teach both singing and english to a young immigrant from Norway, who later became the famous publisher of hymns now sung by Christians throughout the world, including you and me. Wow. Amazing!

There is a lot to learn from this simple story but for now I must limit to just two:

1. These four, like thousands of others around the world, may not appear as  gifted  celebrities, musicians, spiritual leaders etc.   They served God in their everyday life; no “lime lighting”.

God is the giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). The Doxology, “Praise God from whom all Blessings flow” confirms it. While it is proper to “give credit where credit is due”, there are those who crave for it. St. James’ words are an effective antidote to curb this inordinate desire for popularity, superiority, class difference and collectively pride.

This reminds me of an old quote, this time not from Sanskrit but from my mother tongue Malayalam, inserted here specially for my readers in Kerala state, India, as well as my Malayalee sojourners abroad: “piriyenam arangil ninnuden sariyay kali cheytha nattuvan “. Translated into English: “the actor who played his part well should get away at once from the stage”. Don’t hang around for applause.

The early church was not immune to this, seeking praise for their favourites and party spirits, lifting man instead of the Maker. Paul reprimanded them (1 Corinthians 3:2-10). No wonder John the Forerunner was so aware of this human weakness that he scrupulously practiced the maxim “he must increase and I must decrease”.  

2.God has a plan for our lives even if we do not see it. It is not until you look back and get the big picture that you clearly see God’s desires for us. Remember Cleopas and his friend walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus? They did not recognize Jesus for sometime, till later their “hearts burned within”! Note, they two changed their life course and  returned to Jerusalem (Luke 24:32).

Recall the words of Jesus to two, one a poor widow and her offering of two mites (Luke 21:1-4) and the other a lady who lavished costly ointment on Jesus (Mark 14:3-9)? It did not escape Jesus’ attention (always!); he praised them both. In the latter case Jesus added “she has done what she could; she is come aforehand to anoint my body“. The four in my story, did what they could. Simple?

 

God bless, Danny Paul

 

PS: This is my 100th post!  It gives me an opportunity to thank my daughter and son-in-law- Vinitha and Joel Lawton. It was Joel’s prompting that encouraged me to start my blog and it is with their editing/technical support that each blog gets published. I thank God for their labour of love!

My sincere gratitude to the many who take time to share or tag my posts in their Facebook.

* “Stories behind the Hymns” by Warren Shiver, Google

 

17 Replies to “Two Men, Two Women, and God’s Will”

  1. Very interesting, Danny. I really enjoyed reading this. Say hello to Gracie!
    We miss you here. Love Marlene

    1. It is so nice to hear your comment, Marlene. I had some diff. in posting it on fb. By the way, did you see it in fb directly or from the subscriber’s list? If it is from the Subscriber’s list, it means many are not aware of the post and I need to post it again. Please let me know. Thanks again. God bless

  2. Congratulations Danny on your 100th post! A good and timely read… It reminded me of a quote, not sure where it come from: It’s amazing what you can accomplish for Christ if your not concerned who gets the credit…
    Take care & Blessings to you and your family, Derick

    1. Thank you Pastor Derick. It is very nice of you to take time to congratulate me. I thank and praise God “from whom all blessings flow”. As mentioned in my response to Marlene, I have some diff. with posting on fb. I trust you are receiving my posts regularly. God bless you and family as you faithfully continue to minister. Danny

  3. Congratulations, Danny, on your 100th blog. You have the gift of using stories to present the Truth. God bless you and Grace. I cherish your friendship.

  4. Dear Danny, Thanks for your 100ty blog. I read each one with interest, I’m scheduled to fly to England July 3, so won’t be around for the summer get together. Pleas oontact my daughter if you can have time to stop by in Worthington and say hello. Blessings to you and Grace. Richard

    1. I have been so blessed by this man’s friendship. Thank you for encouraging him to write… he has so much to say!! Love Danny Paul!

  5. Congrats on your 100th post!! Couldn’t help but think that it is not always during our lifetime that we can see the scope of God’s plan in our lives. Sometimes it is after we are gone that those left behind see it.
    Love reading your blogs. Soon we will be in Canada and you and Ed can start your walks again!!!

    See you and Grace soon.

  6. Really enjoyed reading your blog. Looking forward to reading more such posts in the future. I will certainly continue to follow all your future blog posts…
    Much Love from all in India

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