Have you ever wondered if good can come out of less than ideal circumstances? Consider Susanna Wesley. She was born on January 20, 1669, the 25th child of British dissenters. Her life could be best described as “difficult”.
Though Susanna was a brilliant child, she had little opportunity to receive formal education. A strong-willed young lady, she lived out her life in a male-dominated society. She married at the age of 19 to 26-year-old Samuel Wesley.
In 1697 Samuel began as pastor in Epworth. They served as the pastoral couple in that church for 40 years. Samuel’s salary was small and he was financially inept. So much so, that at one point he was thrown into debtor’s prison, leaving Susanna to look out for herself and her children alone.
Susanna and Samuel had 19 children. Nine of them died as infants, one accidentally smothered by the nurse attending at the child’s birth. By the time of Susanna’s death, July 23, 1742, only 8 of the 19 were still living.
Other catastrophic events in Susanna’s life included their house burning up, their barn falling down, her own deteriorating health and perpetual poverty. One of her brothers promised her a significant financial gift, but before providing the promised finances, he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again. In 1731 Samuel was thrown from a horse-drawn wagon and never fully recovered.
Yet, Susanna, out of this seeming pandemonium and long list of calamitous events, came to be known of as the “Mother of Methodism”. Why? Because two or of the lads who were raised in the parsonage at Epworth, John and Charles, became two of the greatest evangelists of all time, leading tens of thousands to faith in Christ.
Susan Pellowe, in her biography of Susanna Wesley said, “…she never preached a sermon or published a book or founded a church…but two of her children, consciously or unconsciously applied her example and teachings…” John said of his mother, “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.”
These results did not come out of a vacuum. Susanna spent six hours each day, instructing her children academically and biblically. Her quiet, consistent devotion to God was commendable. She wrote several manuals of Christian doctrine for her children. She compiled a document consisting of biblical and practical principles entitled “Thoughts on Raising Children.” It is a remarkable article, easily found online and well worth reading. Her godly example translated into positive influence in her son’s lives.
Can good things come out of less than ideal circumstances? They can and they do.
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).
Pastor Ross Helgeton Lead Pastor – Erskine Evangelical Free Church Phone: 403 – 742 – 5020 Email: email@example.com