Red Sea Places

Have you ever wondered about hymn writers?

Who they were? Why they wrote? What their lives were like?

This week, I learned about Annie Flint, a hymn-writer who also wrote poetry. Annie was born in New Jersey in 1866 to a life of heartbreak; and yet, her inspirational story is one of standing strong on God’s promises and trusting who He is no matter what the circumstances. From a quick study of her life, it is clear that Annie Flint surely knew The Lord of Hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth.

After her mother died when she was 3, Annie’s father gave her and her sister up for adoption. Though she was young, Annie suffered greatly from arthritis. Eventually it prevented her from walking and ushered in years of helplessness for Annie. A few years later, both adoptive parents died leaving Annie and her sister alone, and destitute. Annie found herself in a “Red Sea Place,” an impossible and desperate situation through which God faithfully guided her.

Annie began to write hymns and poetry, and through her writing, peace overcame her despite her physical and financial sufferings. Hand-lettered cards and gift books continued Annie’s writing. Soon, messages of gratitude and blessings from her writings began to pour in from all around. It was then that her work was published in greeting cards and in her first poetry brochure.

Annie Flint was certain of one thing: God was glorifying Himself through her weakness. She was convinced that though she couldn’t always “see” God’s purpose for her, He had called her for His specific purpose; He was carrying her through her “Red Sea Place.”

As I read Annie’s words in her poem, “What God Hath Promised,” I thought of Isaiah as he remarked, “Woe is me! My eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!” (Isaiah 6).

He gives more grace when the burdens grow greater.

He sends more strength when the labors increase,

To added affliction, He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ‘ere the day is half done;

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure.

His power no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

 

Isaiah and Annie Flint too, it seems, got a glimpse of The Lord of Hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth. They realized they didn’t have all the answers; they didn’t see it all; they didn’t know it all. They understood they didn’t have to though. The Lord of Hosts already did; what they needed was to know and trust Him, He who was, and is, and will be forevermore. When Annie and Isaiah glimpsed the Lord in their lives and in their vision, they were undone. As it turns out, undone is not a bad place to be. In fact, as Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “God will never do anything with us until he has first undone us.”

The Covid pandemic has proven to be an impossible situation, one that added to our already difficult challenges of life, has caused us to feel overwhelmed and powerless at times. It’s undone us. As Annie Flint’s life illustrates, in these “Red Sea Places,” God may not remove our obstacles, but He will carry us through them. And He will use them. For His glory and our good. As we face today’s challenges, let’s not lose hope; let’s continue in our pursuit and knowledge of Him; let’s return to the Truth and cry out to the Lord of Hosts; let’s run into the Strong Tower of Jehovah Sabaoth.

~ Nicole Bryan has been a member of LIFE Fellowship for over 10 years and will graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary in May with a M.A. in Biblical Studies. She and her husband Callan have three children. 

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