from Thanksgiving Day I sit here talking to Dad and reading in my Lazy Boy*.
I’m reminded how undeservedly ‘blessed’
I am . . . blessed with family, friends, good health, relative ‘billionaire
wealth’ (46% of the 7.7 billion people we share this planet with subsist on
less than $5.50/day), and unwarranted ‘success’ in spite of my innumerable dismal
In his book Gods
at War Kyle Idleman points out that “success” is infrequently mentioned in
Scripture, and one of the closest biblical equivalents is the word “blessed”. Kyle
states, “…the word blessed is an indication not that you have done
something, but something has been done for you … success is when we achieve:
blessed is when we receive.”
Thanksgiving I’m thankful for family, friends, good health, my relative ‘billionaire’
wealth’ and unwarranted ‘success’. Most
of all, I’m thankful for our God who, in spite of myself, has saved and has done
so much for me . . . and for placing each of you along my life’s path as I
journey towards Home.
Happy Thanksgiving! Be Blessed!
*Reading and Lazy Boy are synonymous to milk and cookies to me . . . Inseparable!
Sunday the pastor reminded us that during life’s difficult times “… we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Rom.8:37. I’ve read that verse many times . . . absolutely believe it . . . and have seen God conquer difficult giants in my life. However, the temporary perspective trumped the eternal perspective when on Monday I became aware of a difficult situation in one of my children’s life.
It’s been said that repetition is the key to learning. This morning God reminded me I needed to repeat and re-learn the pastor’s message “… we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us“. It was time to refocus my perspective. Frail Christian that I am, He’s always giving me make-up exams, hence my Needs Improvement GPA.
Sitting in my Lazy Boy reading Grace Is Greater by Kyle Idleman, he mentioned two irrefutable axioms . . . 1. Life is Hard . . .2. God is Good. He also quoted a verse I’ve heard somewhere before . . . “… we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” . . . What a ‘coincidence’!
Being a chronic repeat learner (perhaps Mom shoulda’ named me Pete), my patient Dad reinforced my conqueror status in difficult times with the story below. May it encourage you as it did me.
A Story of Eternal Perspective
Back in 1921, a missionary couple
named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the
heart of Africa—to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with
another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought
God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice,
they felt led of the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the
gospel to a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith. At
the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them
enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to
go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.
They prayed for a spiritual
breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a
young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea
Flood—a tiny woman of only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this
was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus.
And in fact, she succeeded.
But there were no other
encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little
band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering
and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood
remained near N’dolera to go on alone.
Then, of all things, Svea found
herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came
for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to
help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.
The delivery, however, was
exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth
process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen
Inside David Flood, something
snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old
wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station.
Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to
Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God
has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his
calling, but God himself.
Within eight months both the
Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each
other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who
adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the
United States at age three.
This family loved the little girl
and was afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle
might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and
switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up
in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible college in
Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.
Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a
fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time
her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and
Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.
One day a Swedish religious magazine
appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she
couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo
stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white
cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie jumped in her car and went
straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the
article. “What does this say?” she demanded.
The instructor summarized the story:
It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago…the birth of a
white baby…the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had
been led to Christ…and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown
up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village.
The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ…the
children led their parents to Christ…even the chief had become a Christian.
Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village…
All because of the sacrifice of
David and Svea Flood.
For the Hursts’ twenty-fifth wedding
anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden.
There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had
remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with
alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in
his family: “Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from
After an emotional reunion with her
half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her
father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though
he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God,
he flies into a rage.”
Aggie was not to be deterred. She
walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and
approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.
“Papa?” she said tentatively.
He turned and began to cry. “Aina,”
he said, “I never meant to give you away.”
“It’s all right Papa,” she replied,
taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.”
The man instantly stiffened. The
“God forgot all of us. Our lives
have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall.
Aggie stroked his face and then
“Papa, I’ve got a little story to
tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die
in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village
to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today
there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful
to the call of God in your life…
“Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never
The old man turned back to look into
his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the
afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.
Over the next few days, father and
daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to
return to America—and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.
A few years later, the Hursts were
attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, where a report
was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The
superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized
believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could
not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea
“Yes, madam,” the man replied in
French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who
led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before
you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are
honored by all of us.”
He embraced her in a long, sobbing
hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is
the most famous person in our history.”
In time that is exactly what Aggie
Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers.
She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to
carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.
The most dramatic moment, of course,
was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself.
She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church,
the pastor read from John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to
the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces
many seeds.” He then followed with Psalm 126:5:
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”
(An excerpt from Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country
[Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986].)