Hannah Whitall Smith: Revolutionary Habit

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Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

“One day, when it seemed especially heavy, she noticed lying on the table near her a little tract called “Hannah’s Faith.” Attracted by the title, she picked it up and began to read it, little knowing, however, that it was to create a revolution in her whole experience. The story was of a poor woman who had been carried triumphantly through a life of unusual sorrow. She was giving the history of her life to a kind visitor on one occasion, and at the close the visitor said, feelingly, “O Hannah, I do not see how you could bear so much sorrow!” “I did not bear it,” was the quick reply; “the Lord bore it for me.”

“Yes,” said the visitor “that is the right way. You must take your troubles to the Lord.” “Yes,” replied Hannah, “but we must do more than that; we must leave them there. Most people,” she continued, “take their burdens to Him, but they bring them away with them again, and are just as worried and unhappy as ever. But I take mine, and I leave them with Him, and come away and forget them. And if the worry comes back, I take it to Him again; I do this over and over, until at last I just forget that I have any worries, and am at perfect rest.”

My friend was very much struck with this plan and resolved to try it. The circumstances of her life she could not alter, but she took them to the Lord, and handed them over into His management; and then she believed that He took it, and she left all the responsibility and the worry and anxiety with Him. As often as the anxieties returned she took them back; and the result was that, although the circumstances remained unchanged, her soul was kept in perfect peace in the midst of them. She felt that she had found out a blessed secret, and from that time she tried never again to carry her own burdens, nor to manage anything for herself…

You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought; not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will.

You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it. Away with such unworthy doubtings! Take your stand on the power and trustworthiness of your God, and see how quickly all difficulties will vanish before a steadfast determination to believe. Trust in the dark, trust in the light, trust at night, and trust in the morning, and you will find that the faith, which may begin by a mighty effort, will end sooner or later by becoming the easy and natural habit of the soul.”

Hannah Whitall Smith in The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (Christian Witness Company) 15, 32.

Fears abound and markets tumble with the discovery of yet another COVID variant. Unrest dominates social conversations. No vaccination or booster shot can guarantee people what they are looking for: perfect peace and happiness.

So, today I invite you to download a classic, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. It’s free. Read it this Advent. It’s only 131 pages in PDF form. Sharing the link with others might be the most generous thing you can do during crazy times.

In this book, Smith suggests a simple yet revolutionary habit. It’s a not a new idea but urges the application of an old idea found in today’s Scripture. We must learn to pray and leave our cares with God to find peace and happiness.

It’s the perfect balm for the challenging times in the larger society and the stretching moments that ministry workers face. May the Spirit of God help each of us model this revolutionary habit so as to spread peace and happiness generously.

Today, my twofold prayer is for God to keep a door for ministry open and to supply the resources to add new staff. Following Smith’s counsel, I am praying and casting my cares on Christ. But, let me explain the situation.

For months, GTP has planned travel to Africa to serve God’s workers from Botswana, Burundi, Eswantini, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The same areas affected by the recent COVID variant outbreak!

Where it gets challenging is that I and two other members of the GTP staff are supposed to fly out in a week. Will we be able to travel there to serve? Today we are meeting, meditating on Acts 27:27-29, and assessing the situation.

What will we do? We will pray and give any worries to God. What do we not do? We won’t fear or treat people from these regions like lepers. This may be our greatest ministry moment to serve like Jesus and move toward those in need.

The other thing on my mind is Giving Tuesday. Will you join GTP in the work of strengthening God’s workers and building sustainable ministries worldwide? Click here to learn how God has supplied and to help meet the goal to add staff.