Annie Johnson Flint’s life declares the greatness of God in the midst of confusion and pain. She was orphaned as a baby. She lived in a home that bordered on poverty and spent her days as a caregiver to her adopted mother who suffered from a number of strokes. In midlife, she also fell ill and spent most of her remaining years crippled, bed-ridden, dealing with depression and suffering from chronic pain. How could God glorify Himself in all her unanswered prayers, suffering and depression?
While most would look at her life and ask this question, Annie focused on all God was doing in the midst of every challenge she faced. She didn’t hide her pain. Instead she chose to be an encouragement to the small community around her. Because of her faith, God gave grace to her. Believers have continued singing her testimony for well over 100 years. In one stanza, her life became a wellspring of encouragement to those who face adversity, pain and the anomaly of illness:
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth 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 pow’r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!
So often, we’re enamored by success, security, beauty and prestige. Our economy is alien to the equity of Heaven. Our self-made narratives are houses of cards when they stray from the truthful, painful process of brokenness.
This doesn’t happen on the platform. It happens in the closet.
I think about Annie Flint’s life and I hear her song in the middle of my own questions about suffering. I must trust the same God Annie trusted. He is enough for today’s struggles and tomorrow’s crucibles. He was enough for her. He is enough for us.