by Kathy Howard
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1, NIV
War shakes a man’s faith. Without a solid foundation and encouragement to stand firm, it can even shatter it completely.
Jean Grace Elliot may not have gone to war, but she served in the trenches alongside the young men she’d taught in Sunday School. Although a schoolteacher, then a principal, by trade, Jean’s lifelong passion was teaching the Bible. Each week, Jean faithfully taught boys—including her own three sons—how to love and follow Jesus Christ. As the years went by, the lads she discipled grew into teenagers, then young men.
When War World II broke out, Jean’s sons and several of “her boys” enlisted in the armed forces. These young men may have left Toronto to serve their country, but Jean did not leave them. She faithfully wrote letters to each of them, including one who was captured and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. Jean encouraged them to stand firm in Christ. She filled her letters with Scripture to bolster their faith. She prayed that their faith would not simply survive those desperate times, but that it would thrive.
Jean’s efforts bore fruit. Through the later years of her life, she received many thanks from those men for being a devoted teacher and encourager. Although Jean passed away in 1963 at the age of 77, her legacy of unshakeable faith lives on in her students, her own children, and their children.
Jean faithfully followed the example of the apostle Paul. In his letter to the persecuted believers in Philippi, Paul encouraged them to cling to Christ no matter the circumstances. Paul knew suffering, but he also knew the strength and comfort of Christ was more than sufficient. No matter the struggle, no matter the outcome on this earth, believers can experience unshakeable faith, even through the worst of times.
Father, when my family encounters trials, remind them of Your truth. You see them, You care, You are working, even in the midst of their worst of times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association(AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate and richest coffee. She searches for cherished stories of faith that still impact hearts. And she digs deep into God’s Word, mining His eternal truths for herself and to share with others. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events.
Kathy has a Masters of Christian Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and is the author of 10 books, including the “Deep Rooted” devotional series and “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” (October 2021). Kathy and her husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Kathy provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org.
Join the conversation: Have family members that have gone before you left a legacy of faith? Please share!