On September 22, 1871, an elderly British lady, 82 years of age, was ushered into her heavenly reward. Earlier, in 1835, frustrated at being an invalid, left her feeling useless and questioning her very salvation. What young Charlotte Elliot5 did next would echo throughout history.
Charlotte was not sure of her relationship with Christ, not sure of how to be saved, even though she had been raised a minister’s daughter. The probing question of a Swiss evangelist, “Are you at peace with God?”, wouldn’t leave her mind. When she later saw the evangelist, she mentioned that she could not stop thinking of his question. She protested about what could she possibly bring to God. The evangelist replied that she need not bring anything but herself, and Charlotte Elliot gladly accepted Christ.
Twelve years later, in 1835, crippled by illness and constant fatigue, she felt saddened by her inability to help a local church’s cause. Remembering her conversion, she took out pen and paper and wrote a poem to encourage others who felt like her, years earlier, that they too had nothing to give. . .
“Just As I Am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come…”
Charlotte’s poem was published and was immediately inundated with requests for it. She was thrilled to learn later that some copies were being sold to raise money for the very cause she felt helpless to assist!
After her death, thousands of letters were found in her home, written by people whose lives had been transformed by her words. Charlotte’s simple song has been translated into hundreds of languages, published in more than 1600 hymnals, has reached billions worldwide, and continues to bring people to Christ even today.
Sixty years later, in 1931, a 31-year-old man riding in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle in England finally came to the end of his internal struggle against whether Christ was indeed the Son of God. He finally knew in his soul that indeed Jesus was just who He said He was! He realized that God calls us to Him “just as we are”. That man was C.S. Lewis and when he stepped out of the sidecar, he was a new man, saved by grace!
Ninety-nine years after Charlotte Elliot5 penned her words, and 3 years after Lewis’ conversion, a 16-year-old son of a dairy farmer listened intently as he heard the message of salvation preached at a revival service in Charlotte, NC. When the song, “Just As I Am,” was sung at the end, young Billy Graham went forward to accept Christ.
Some twenty years later, Billy Graham became a successful evangelist and was invited to speak at Cambridge University in England. His nervousness over the event nearly led him to cancel it. But he was introduced to a kind man named C.S. Lewis who encouraged him to disregard the critics who had spoken out against him and to continue with the revival.
Rev. Graham went on to speak to an overflow crowd of 2,000 each night of the revival, and when he returned to England in 1989, he addressed a crowd of 80,000 at England’s Wimbley Stadium! It became the custom at each Billy Graham Revival to close the event with the same song that brought him to Christ, “Just As I Am.”
The gospel is simple. It’s not about what we can bring; we can bring nothing. It’s all about what He can bring. Jesus loves us just as we are, warts and all. Jesus took the frustration of Charlotte Elliott, the skepticism of C.S. Lewis, and the nervousness of Billy Graham, to reach the world through you and me … and He will continue to those who surrender themselves.
Debby Efurd is co-founder of Cary John Efurd Ministries of Pittsburg, TX. She has been a contributor to Bound for Life and written numerous articles published in LifeNews, Christian Post and the Baptist Standard, and is the author of Go Tell It! Learn more about Cary John Efurd Ministries by liking our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CJEMinistries) and downloading our FREE mobile app (get.theapp.co) from App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, allow notifications to keep you up to date on what’s happening in Cary John Efurd Ministries. Debby can be contacted at email@example.com. Feel free to comment on her blog, The Second Mile, at www.debbyefurd.com .