Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Know Jesus Loves Me: Story Behind Song

Anna Warner's lyrics to "Jesus Loves Me" along with her sister
Susan's book, See and Seal saved the family home on Constitution Island in the Hudson River in the Depression of the 1800's.

Yesterday's post laid out the dire need for money of the Warner daughters after their affluent successful attorney father invested in the shaky stock market and lost everything but the summer home in the Hudson River.

Thrive Christians is a blog that comes out of my obedience to God's call on my life. In one of my darkest moments I cried out to God for hope and help. The one word that came to me was "Thrive." I sought the Lord for His direction that made sense in the severity of my moment. "Thrive" was all that came to me. I took it literally, and amazingly I have been able to thrive .... oh, how I thank God for that Word on that day. Anna and Susan Warner show us how to "thrive" in harsh times.

Anna and Susan Warner were highly educated and deeply devoted Christian young women . They had been motherless most of their lives. Their father, Henry, died shortly after the Wall Street crash. With faith in God these educated women used the resources at hand in prayer and "Jesus Loves Me" came to be; and the money from its sales secured them in a simple lifestyle for the rest of their lives.

Their home on Constitution Island was a short boat trip from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Susan and Anna conducted Bible Sunday School Classes for young cadets. The Warners had their man helper row a boat to and from the Academy weekly filled with cadets who had reserved their spot on board. The sisters served tea and cookies and the gospel of good news to the upcoming generals and commanders of the U.S. military prior to the War Between the States and the following decades until their deaths. Their home, Good Crag, was willed to the Academy and made into a national shrine. Both sisters were buried with military honors in recognition of their spiritual contributions to the lives of the young military officers.

Anna and Susan Warner have been beacons of faith and hope for me these decades I have known their story. In great need they fell humbly before God and moved into action as Holy Spirit led them. Losing everything but this isolated lake home accessible only by boat in harsh winters could have seemed bewildering. No, the Warner sisters were lampstands of light of the glory of God on impressionable young cadets soon to be in the ravages of war. Can we only imagine what impact these two single women in obscure upstate New York have had on their generation. Consider the impact of the hymn, "Jesus Loves Me" on their generation through to the present. Think of the officers who grasped the gospel of Jesus' love as they faithfully attended the Hudson River Sunday School classes. That light of God would then shine onto the men who served under them, their own families and the foreign lands they traveled as military officers.

God's ways are not our ways. If life is not making sense to you in the crash of '08, may Anna and Susan Warner's lives give you hope and direction. Trust Him and obey Him....indeed the best is yet to be.

“Jesus loves me!

This I know, For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong;

They are weak, but He is strong.


sailorcross said...

Trust Him and obey Him....indeed the best is yet to be.

I am going to place this sentence that you wrote into my memory bank!

Your story of the Warner sisters is so inspiring, especially when we look at our own economic situation at the present time. And what do we do?

Pray, trust and obey--that's all we can do--and God will lead and direct us--for the best is yet to come!


Dorothy Champagne said...

What a reminder that our country was based on Christianity! The women reaching out to these young men training to fight for our country, who willingly turned to the Bible because they new, ultimately, that is where the victory is won. How Inspiring!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.