Charlotte Elliot lived at the close of the eighteenth century and in great physical pain most of her life because of a childhood illness. She also struggled with bouts of depression. An old family friend once asked her whether she had ever come to know the peace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. She became defensive; upset that anyone would dare ask such a question, but after cooling down she admitted her need of spiritual help. She confessed her desire to receive Christ and said, “I want to come to Jesus, but I don’t know how.” Her friend replied, “Come to him just as you are.” She did and experienced the peace of God in her life in spite of her many struggles.
One Sunday she was at home unable to attend church because of her pain. She took a pen and paper and began to write these words: “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!” She published this hymn anonymously in a small Christian newspaper, and it began to gain popularity all over England.
One day her doctor handed her this poem thinking it would be of encouragement and she recognized it as her own. She began writing more hymns of encouragement and invitation. Her pain became the source of a deeper walk with God and a well-spring of opportunity for ministry to others. A century later a young man named Billy Graham went forward to receive Christ when this hymn was sung.
Is your pain being wasted? How could God use it for His glory and the eternal good of others? Just a thought….
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom 8:26