On September 22, 1871, an elderly British lady, 82 years young, passed into her heavenly reward. Earlier in her life, in 1835, her frustration at being an invalid left her feeling useless and questioning her very salvation. What she did next would echo through history.
As a young woman, Charlotte Elliott was not sure of her relationship with Christ, not sure of how to be saved, even though she was a minister’s daughter, and the probing question of a Swiss evangelist, “Are you at peace with God?”, would not leave her mind. When she saw the evangelist a few weeks later, she mentioned she could not shake his question. But, she protested, what could she possibly bring to God? When he replied she need not bring anything but herself, she gladly accepted Christ.
Some twelve years later, in 1835, crippled by illness and constant fatigue, she felt saddened by her inability to help a local church’s cause. Remembering her conversion, she took out pen and paper and wrote a poem to encourage others who felt perhaps they too had nothing to give.
People inundated her with requests for her poem. She was happy to discover later that some copies were being sold to raise money for the very cause she felt helpless to assist!
After her death, they found thousands of letters in her home, written by people whose words had transformed their lives.
Her song was transcribed into hundreds of languages, published in over 1600 hymnals, has reached billions around the world, and continues to bring people to Christ even today.
Sixty years later, on this date, in 1931, a 31-year-old man riding in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle in England finally came to the end of his internal struggle against whether Christ was indeed the Son of God. He finally knew in his soul that indeed Jesus was just whom He said He was! He realized God calls us to Him “just as we are”.
When C. S. Lewis stepped out of the sidecar, he was a new man, saved by grace!
Ninety-nine years after Charlotte Elliott penned her words, and 3 years after Lewis’ conversion, the 16-year-old son of a dairy farmer listened intently as he heard the message of salvation preached at a revival service in Charlotte, NC. When he heard the song “Just As I Am,” young Billy Graham went forward to accept Christ.
Twenty years later, Billy Graham had become a successful evangelist and received an invitation to speak at Cambridge University in England. His nervousness over the event nearly led him to cancel it. But they introduced him to a kind man named C. S. Lewis, who encouraged him to disregard the critics who had spoken out against him and to continue with the revival.
Rev. Graham spoke to an overflow crowd of 2,000 each night of the revival, and when he returned to England in 1989, he addressed a crowd of 80,000 at England’s Wembley Stadium! As always, he closed the event with the same song that brought him to Christ, “Just As I Am.”
Never think you have “nothing” to bring to Jesus! That is exactly what He wants you to bring... nothing! He wants you, just you, as you are! He can take frustration like Charlotte Elliott’s, skepticism like Lewis’, and nervousness like Billy Graham’s, and reach the world through you!