Consider the Story of Annie Johnson Flint
In the days of my youth, I gave little thought to the tenor of life. It was not good or bad, easy or difficult, fun or serious. It was defined by activities — school, church, sports, jobs.
By the time I reached my Seventies, I had given a lot of thought to life, from its meaning to how it plays out over time. I lived through different era’s captured in slogans like “the power of positive thinking”, “tough times never last but tough people do”, and “we shall overcome”.
It became clear: the calculus for life has to allow for gains and losses, joys and sorrows. We are measured not by what happens to us but by how we respond. That is life!
Today we are all working through a time when the coronavirus has cost 500,000 people their lives, some people their jobs, some people their physical and/or mental health, some people their homes, and some people their connection to people who matter to them.
We are feeling the burdens of life and it is incumbent upon us to grab hold of anything that would inspire and help us find our way forward.
The story of Annie Johnson Flint offers such inspiration.
She was born in 1866. By the time she was six years old, she had lost her mother and father to illnesses and was adopted by a family named Flint.
She became a Christian after a Methodist revival meeting. She loved poetry and dreamed of being a composer and concert pianist. She was described as “kindhearted, self-reliant, independent, and economical — sewing her own dresses.”
After graduating from high school, Annie went on to become an elementary school teacher, but in her second year was afflicted with arthritis that worsened to the point where she was unable to walk.
She became a writer whose words appeared in gift books, greeting and Christmas cards, a collection of poems, and hymns that are still popular today.
The commentary on her life reports that “later in life she was unable to open her hands and could no longer write but continued to compose many of her poems on a typewriter using her knuckles.” And that “she sought healing, but in the end she was thoroughly convinced that God intended to glory Himself through her, in her weak earthen vessel.” She passed away at the age of 66.