Private spirituality, public worship, church attendance, serve others
As Strategy To
Lucy’s severe illness, covenant with God if He would spare her life she would serve Him with her all.
We had lived in Randolph but six months when I took a heavy cold, which caused a severe cough. A hectic fever set in which threatened to prove fatal and the physician believed my case to be confirmed consumption. My mother attended me day and night with much anxiety, sparing herself no pains in administering to my comfort, yet I grew so weak that I could not bear the noise of a footfall except in stocking feet, nor a word to be spoken in the room except in whispers.
One Mr. Murkley, a Methodist exhorter, heard of my afflictions and came to visit me. When he came to the door, he knocked in his usual manner, not knowing that I was so very weak and that the noise would disturb me. This agitated me so much that it was some time before my nerves were settled again. My mother stepped to the door and motioned him to a chair, informing him of my weakness in a whisper.
He seated himself and for a long time seemed pondering in his mind something he wished to say. I thought to myself, “He will ask me if I am prepared to die.” I dreaded to have him speak to me, for said I to myself, “I am not prepared to die, for I do not know the ways of Christ,” and it seemed to me as though there was a dark and lonely chasm between myself and Christ that I dared not attempt to cross.
I thought as I strained my eyes towards the light (which I knew lay just beyond the gloomy veil before me) that I could discover a faint glimmer.
Mr. Murkley left, and my husband came to my bed and caught my hand and exclaimed as well as he could amidst sobs and tears, “Oh, Lucy! My wife! You must die. The doctors have given you up, and all say you cannot live.”
I then looked to the Lord and begged and pled that he would spare my life that I might bring up my children and comfort the heart of my husband. Thus I lay all night, sometimes gazing gradually away to heaven, and then reverting back again to my babies and my companion at my side, and I covenanted with God that if he would let me live, I would endeavor to get that religion that would enable me to serve him right, whether it was in the Bible or wherever it might be found, even if it was to be obtained from heaven by prayer and faith. At last a voice spoke to me and said, “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Let your heart be comforted. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
In a few moments my mother came in and looked upon me and cried out, “Lucy, you are better.” My speech came and I answered, “Yes, Mother, the Lord will let me live. If I am faithful to my promise which I have made to him, he will suffer me to remain to comfort the hearts of my mother, my husband, and my children.”
From this time forward I gained strength continually. I said but little upon the subject of religion, although it occupied my mind entirely. I thought I would make all diligence, as soon as I was able, to seek some pious person who knew the ways of God to instruct me in the things of heaven.
Young Joseph by Ivan J. Barrett p. 12