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Joyful Affliction

July 4, 2023

2 Corinthians 7:4
Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction.

Over and over God tells us to meditate on His Word.  To meditate, we first have to read it.  What if we have no way to read it?  How much effort would we put forth to find a way to read it?

William McPherson, a Scottish quarry worker, arrived in America, in 1893.  Settling outside of Denver, he eventually became a quarry superintendent.  But one day, he impatiently grabbed a stick of live dynamite. It exploded in his hands.  Though miles from a doctor, he survived but he had no hands, no feet, and no eyesight. Prior to the accident, he had no time or desire to listen to the gospel. Now he had all the time in the world to listen and soon he trusted Christ as his Savior.  He soon became dissatisfied just listening to someone read the scripture to him. He wanted so much to read it for himself.

His care became taxing to his family, so he was transferred to a home for the disabled in Illinois.  Imagine if you can the day after day darkness and sameness.  Every day.  Every day.  Other than his newfound hope in Christ, he had little to think about.  He was indeed a lonely man.

Through lecturers at a nearby school, he learned about a young girl who had learned to read her Bible using Braille.  But he had no fingers so he could not even do this.  But this girl over time lost the feeling in her fingers.  Being distraught, she brought the Bible to her lips to kiss it goodbye, and amazingly discovered that she could feel the letters with her lips.!

Maybe there was hope for William.  After 5 years of darkness, God sent Anna Johnson, also blind, to work at the home with the blind patients.  Remember, he had no hands and no feeling in his face.    One day he ‘accidentally’ brushed his tongue against the paper.  He could feel the letters with his tongue!  He could hardly for Anna to come so he could share his news with her.  With Anna’s help, William learned to read Braille with his tongue!  After much bleeding and soreness, he read through the entire Bible not just once but four times in the next 65 years!  I cannot begin to imagine his pain and yet his intense joy in being able to read God’s Word..

Maybe he shouted Amen when he read the words of Jeremiah in Jer. 15:16, “Your words were found and I did eat them.  And your words became for me a joy and a the delight of my heart.  For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”  He must have rejoiced with David when he said in Psalm 119:24,”Your testimonies are my delight.” 

 What lengths do we go to read God’s word?  Sure, some of us need glasses to read.  Some of us need special glasses.  Some need large print.   But even then, do we persevere and make the reading of God’s word the most important priority of the day?  How precious every word must have been to William.

May we take advantage of all the technology available to us while we still have the Bible in our hands. We do not know what tomorrow holds.   Let’s persevere.  Nothing could be as difficult as what William McPherson did just because he wanted to read God’s word for himself.

Edie R

’43 / ’55 New Holland PA

Information taken from Lifeway

Birth year / spiritual birth year / hometown

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