Creed Screed: Eternal Hope
By Paul Leavens
In Psalm 46:10, He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; / I will be exalted among the nations, / I will be exalted in the earth.”
William Henry Harrison holds the dubious distinction of being the U.S. president to serve the shortest term. The ninth president died of pneumonia just 30 days after taking office in 1841.
In the same measure, William Henry Harrison’s wife, Anna Harrison, holds the distinction of serving the shortest stint as first lady. In fact, she never set foot in the White House. Too ill with the flu to make the long trip from Ohio to Washington with her husband, she planned to head to the White House at a later date, but the president died before she departed.
William Henry Harrison’s death was another tragedy in a long list of them for Anna Harrison. One of her adult sons died in each of the previous three years: 1838, 1839 and 1840.
When faced with tragedy, Harrison, a devout Christian, often quoted Psalm 46:10: “‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” But the grief didn’t end with the death of William Henry Harrison. An adult daughter died in 1842, and two more daughters died in 1845 and 1846.
Still, Harrison stood firm: “‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” Harrison knew the pain of losing a loved one from an early age. Her mother died when she was 1, and her father, an officer in the Continental Army, was unable to care for her due to the Revolutionary War. He smuggled her across British lines at age 4 to live with her grandparents.
Historical accounts describe Harrison as a “rather slender, delicate figure, with dark eyes and a modest, quiet manner.” But strong faith dwelt beneath that exterior.
When her house burned to the ground in 1858 and she escaped with just the clothes on her back, Harrison again turned to Scripture: “‘Be still, and know that I am God.’”
She died in 1864 at age 88 having outlived nine of her 10 children. Her eulogy included her favorite verse: “‘Be still, and know that I am God.’”
Tragedy and heartache are part of life. Each of us will face it.
Jesus said, “’He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’” (Matthew 5:45).
Christians are not excluded from the pain and suffering that sin brought into this world, but we have an eternal hope that will not disappoint us. When faced with difficult times, will you turn to God or turn your back on Him?
Jesus said, “‘I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33 NLT).
- What is the biggest tragedy or difficulty you have experienced in your life? How did you handle it?
- How has tragedy shaped you into the person you are today?
- What is your favorite verse to stand on when facing difficulties? Mine is Hebrews 10:35-36.
Dr. Paul Leavens is Minister of the Christian Church in Lindsay, 120 N. Frazier Ave. To contact him, call 559-562-3743 or visit www.lindsaychristianchurch.org.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.