In the Southland, where flowers always bloom, the mocking-bird warbles its notes of melody all the day long, and the darkies hum their old-time melodies in the cotton patches, making merry the passer-by, in that land once lived a poor family. This family had an afflicted daughter, who was minus a left arm and a left leg and whose right hand had only two fingers and a thumb. Her right leg was so drawn and twisted that she was wholly unable to walk; she was bedridden in an upstairs room, the floor of which was uncarpeted and on the walls not a single picture; a rickety old bed and one stool were the furniture. Upon this bed lay this afflicted child for fifteen years.
One day a Salvation Army lassie found this humble home and in conversation with the mother, learned about the sadly afflicted child. She was taken by the mother to the child's bedside and there, in her Christlike manner, told the sweet story of Jesus in sweetest, simplest language. The child, who had been taught by her mother until she was a good reader, became much interested. This Salvation Army girl kept going to the home daily, taking good religious papers, books, and tracts. The child read and got hungry for Jesus.
One night, she dreamed that, if she were to give her heart to Christ, He would make her a useful channel to lead multitudes to Him. She wondered how this could be true. She said, "Here I am with this horrible affliction, born this way, what can I do? I have but little education, unable to go to school, my father a day laborer and so poor that he cannot do anything for me, so the dream can never come true."
But one night when we were all soundly asleep, she began seeking God in earnest. She cried out, "Oh, Lord, I have but two fingers and a thumb, and if you will save me they shall work always for Thee. Forgive my sins. I am so sorry that I have so neglected Thee, I will, I can, I do believe that Jesus here and now saves me." The clock in the tower was striking twelve, the stars and moon now shone brightly, but the light that broke into that soul at that midnight hour was much brighter than the sun at noonday. She could not help it, in fact she did not try; the laughter, the hallelujahs and praises rang out upon the night air until the whole family were aroused from their slumbers and came into her room, and they soon saw that she had been with Jesus.
The Spirit there and then began a great work through her feeble instrumentality; her father was gloriously reclaimed by her bedside that night, and her brother and sister were saved; it was a great night for the family. The next morning, calling her father and mother into her room, she told them how the Spirit had been whispering that there was a work for her to do. The parents encouraged her, the mother took the girl in her arms, saying, "Papa and Mamma will do their best to help you."
The next day she said to her father, "Papa, bring me a lead pencil and a tablet for I am to preach my first sermon at one o'clock this afternoon. The pencil and tablet were purchased and brought to her room. She had spent the forenoon in quiet, earnest prayer, that Jesus would bless her first effort, and the Spirit gave her her first message. He had impressed her that she must write across one page, "Where will you spend Eternity?" She wrote this simple line, then cried from the depths of her heart, "O thou blessed Spirit, let this paper strike the right party squarely in the face." She prayed more earnestly, she got a real burden, she felt that God had heard and would answer her heart-cries. She watched the clock and prayed, resting her faith upon this promise, "Ask, and ye shall receive." She read and re-read this promise and again she would pour out her earnest soul to God in prayer, saying, "Now, Father, send the right party along. It is only five minutes until time to preach my first sermon. The sermon is ready, and so am I. Hurry the right party, right under my window"
Just then the clock struck one, so, taking the slip of paper, she held her hand out of the window and cried, "O Lord, please let this strike the right man or the right woman squarely in the face. Use it to bring awful conviction; use it to show the right one his lost and undone condition; use it to bring some one to Jesus. You shall have all the glory. You shall get all the praise. This poor deformed child does not want one bit."
The paper slipped out of her hand and was winged by a kind zephyr into the face of a great banker. He grabbed the paper as it came across both eyes and behold, "Where will you spend Eternity?" struck him like a cannon ball. He staggered, he was dazed, he was alarmed, he was frightened, he looked up, he looked around, he said, "I am going to die soon, this is a warning. God sent this by some angel. I must get ready. I am an awful sinner. I have neglected God for business. I have made piles of money, but I am a lost man; I have laid up treasures on earth, but I have none in Heaven." Soon he was wringing his hands, crying aloud, "I am lost."
The girl's mother heard the pitiful cries of this rich man and hurried to him, saying, "What is the matter? Are you sick? Do you want me to call a doctor? Where do you live? Must I call the bus?" "Woman, read this." As soon as the mother saw the slip of paper and the handwriting, she knew what it meant, she saw that God had honored, blessed, and used her child to break the heart of this great business man. She said, "That slip of paper came from yonder window. My deformed child wrote that. She has been converted, and feels that God has called her to do a great work." This man, with tear-filled eyes and a bleeding heart, said, "Take me to her room."
On entering her room, the banker said, "Oh, child, how came you to throw that paper out just at that moment? How came you to write just that line? It has broken my heart. It has shown me my awful condition. I am rich in money, but a pauper in religion. I would rather have this old bed, this old stool, this carpetless room, and have what you now enjoy, than all my wealth. I am a miserable man, and with this poverty, you are a beautiful, happy Christian girl. You look so happy; now, as I kneel by your bedside, place that hand that wrote that line, upon my head and pray Him who carried that paper into my face, to have mercy on me and to save me, for I am willing to do anything possible to get what you have."
He knelt, the hand rested upon his head, and such a prayer could only come from a heart filled with the fullness of God. How tenderly she prayed, how sympathetic she was in her prayer, She simply poured out her whole soul in earnest prayer. Here was her first fruit, here was the result of her first message; she saw at a glance that her dream was coming true.
The Lord got a deeper grip upon that man's conscience. What confessions! what deep repentance! He began to pray, and the more he prayed, the louder he prayed. Soon, with streaming eyes, he had this girl in his arms shouting, "God has forgiven me. Oh, I am so happy! We are childless at our home, not because we plan or want to be childless, I want a child, I have been hungry for some child to call me father, and why can't I adopt you? Then I could get you a nice rubber-tired chair, hire a strong woman to roll your chair, and you could go about all day, preaching, working for the Master and come home at night. Then I could fix a small box to your chair and you could carry tracts, papers, and Bibles." The child said, "That would be nice, my papa is too poor to buy me a chair. We will pray about it, and if our Lord leads, I am willing to be your child."
That night the whole story was told to her father, they prayed together, God led, and through this seemingly strange Providence, the child was adopted into the banker's family. Soon she was seen on the streets in her new rubber-tired chair, preaching the glad story of redemption. The banker and his wife were simply overjoyed. How grateful they were that God had given them a daughter.
This child saw for the first time in her life the awful destruction of the liquor traffic. She was amazed to see men staggering, falling, spending their money for that which brought misery, when their families at home needed bread and meat, clothes and fuel. A burden for the destruction of these murder mills (the saloons) came rushing upon her. That night her banker-father told her of the murderers, criminals, and thieves; how the penitentiaries are crowded, and over one hundred thousand going to a drunkard's grave and a drunkard's hell annually. The child sobbed and cried all night, she saw strong men, noble men, fathers and sons, husbands and brothers, by the thousands, being slaughtered by these hellish monsters. Soon she began to lecture upon the streets; she would go into the saloons and pray and beg men to not sell that which destroyed home, character, and honor.
One saloon-keeper got so miserable that he could not stay in the business; he seemingly saw himself at the judgment, and behold women and children gnashed upon him, shaking their bony fingers in his face, saying, "You took the carpet from our home, you took the clothes from the wardrobe, You took the eatables from the pantry, you sold our house over our heads, you put us out on the cold streets, your business destroyed our husband and father, you made him kill his neighbor, and then the law that gave you the license to sell the damnable stuff, took our father and hanged him. Oh! such a law, such a constitution to license a thing that destroys her citizenship. Citizens should be protected, but the law that should protect turns loose upon innocent people, and while many object to these destructive heartless murder mills, these hellish saloons care not for our boys; they must be fed. What is the raw material? Young men, noble sons, who would make honorable citizens, if it were not for these hell holes. Woolen-mills turns out cloths to protect us from the winter, wheat mills turns out flour to feed us and make us stronger. These mills are an honor to any community, to any citizenship; they are legitimate, they are necessary, but those mills of hell destroy, corrupt, debauch, degrade, disgrace; they sow harlotry, crime, vice, immorality, and wholly unfit man for his best interest."
The next morning at the breakfast table, this godly child told her father and mother how God had so burdened her that she had not slept a wink all night, and now, she had a new field of labor. She was called to put the saloons out of business and purposed, by God's grace and their assistance, to wage a relentless war upon these man-destroyers. Her parents promised their assistance. That day was spent in silent prayer all alone in her room, and she received this promise, Proverbs 2:10-12. She laughed, she cried, she shouted. Her mother, hearing her, ran upstairs saying, "Have you prayed through?" The child said, "Yes, glory to God! The saloons will go. I have the victory."
The next day she began her holy war, she bombarded nine saloons, she kept it up, she scat- tered good temperance literature. The saloon keeper who had gotten under such awful con- viction, went to another saloon-keeper and said, "Bob, let's quit the dirty business. Our boys will soon be old enough to drink." The two men agreed to quit, then joined the girl in her battle against this awful enemy of sobriety, virtue, truthfulness, upright character, and noble manhood and womanhood. She got one of the best temperance lecturers to come for a ten-days campaign. This drew great crowds, and soon three other saloons closed. By this time, the mayor and town council read clearly the handwriting on the wall and saw their doom, unless they refused to relicense these devilish, destructive murder mills, and so the others had to close.
This child one day read about an evangelist who was having a sweeping revival in another town. She urged her father and they went over to the meeting. They soon saw that this was the Lord's work, and made a date with the evangelist and his singer. Five churches joined in this great work. Old and young said they never had seen such interest manifested in religious work in that town. People came by the hundreds; by dark the great building was packed. A great religious awakening broke out and a tremendous soul-saving revival followed. Hundreds were led to Christ. One of the pastors said to the banker, "Your child, by her earnest prayers and faithful work, has brought about this great change. It is wonderful, simply marvelous to see men who once sold whiskey now working in this meeting and the drunkards, the gamblers are being saved as well as the upper classes."
One night after going home from this great revival, while meditating, she saw how her dream was coming true, how God had worked, how God had multiplied her usefulness, what a marvelous fruitage He had given although she was poor and deformed.
Christians, wake up, listen! give what you have to God, consecrate your all upon the
altar, present your bodies a living sacrifice for He is using all who are at all useable. If you
are not being used, whose fault is it? Jesus delights to use all, no matter what your de-
formity, your physical infirmities, your inabilities, just give Him a chance. He will put all the
imps, to flight who chuckle and whisper, "There is no use in trying." Let us today, let us this
hour, let us this minute, consecrate our all to Him. "O Lord, help us, look down upon us in
pity. Thou knowest us, our weakness is too great unless Thou help us. What can we do
without Thee? It makes us hide our face in shame when we see how Thou didst so
marvelously use this poor afflicted child. Help those of us who have strong bodies to
consecrate our every power to Thee. We will do it, Thou mayest count on us. We thank
Thee for thy goodness, for Thy patience, for Thy forgiveness, for Thy forgetfulness of our
many sins, and we promise Thee a better service. We are Thine, soul, spirit and body, to go,
to stay, or to send. Count on us, Lord. Amen!
(From Chapter 14 of Praying Clear Through by Rev. William J. Harney. Copyright 1915 God's
Revivalist Press, Cincinnati, Ohio)
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