Pastor Bob #1

  • Nov. 15, 2011
  • #7707

Pastor Bob Bjerkaas shares with Joni how Henry Morehouse learned grace through the relationship with his daughter affected by disability.

Joni: If you have a disability you might not know just who you’ll be influencing. Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and boy as a person with a disability I know very well how much my response with my own disability has impacted others who in turn have shared the comfort and encouragement with their friends… and that is why I want to welcome my friend, Pastor Bob Bjerkaas of Church in the Canyon where Ken and I attend… always good to have you, Bob.

Bob: Well thank you so much for having me again.

Joni: You know the last time you were on some time ago you talked a little bit about your own visual impairment and the thing I gleaned from you is the responsibility and the stewardship we have with our disabilities. Our response really does have an influence on others, right?

Bob: They are both opportunities for us to show and receive grace and the story I want to share with you and your listeners today concerns a child with a very severe disability who was born in the 1800’s. 

Joni: Tell us…

Bob: Well, one of the men who helped teach Dwight Moody how to preach was an Irishman named Henry Morehouse. Morehouse was not like Spurgeon and Moody… he didn’t have a great education theologically speaking, but he had a deep passion for Christ and it reads in the book he wrote called Sorrow Sanctified this powerful sentence: “There came into my home what seemed to be a great sorrow, a poor little paralyzed babe. Yet out of that sorrow sprang my greatest blessing. My little girl became the means of subduing my whole nature. In her presence I learned to speak softly, to restrain my temper and all unconsciously a little crippled child conquered and changed the habit and manner of my life.”

Joni: Wow!

Bob: This was a theologian of the heart who simply walked with Christ and knew His scriptures and was desperately interested in communicating the free offer of the gospel. I say that because he was a good Christian man who because of his association with somebody who needed his help God used that relationship as a means of grace. Peter gives us in the New Testament is that each one of us should use whatever gift has been given him to administer God’s grace in its various form to others.

Joni: Sometimes that gift may be a little bit of a surprise… like a disability?

Bob: Sometimes it might. You know when we are weak we are strong and sometimes even when I need help I am modeling beautiful Biblical, humble, dependent grace when I ask other people for help, but here we see in the life of this one Henry Morehouse whom God used to multiply his ministry many, many times over in England and American and around the world it impacted his whole life. As he was dying 20 years after his conversion to Christ, his daughter was a very young lady, and in his recollections that were written after his death, one of his friends at his bedside wrote this: “Twenty years after his conversion when the hour of death with all its dread reality was at hand, he turned to his crippled child and with his dying breath exclaimed: God is love.” I think we cannot comprehend the ministry of a man like Henry Morehouse without realizing how much God powerfully used his beautiful, precious little girl with her disability to soften his heart and make him fit. I know as a dad who struggles with raising four children – one of them who has some issues, some disabilities – I already have begun to see the Lord working in some of these ways in my own heart and I anticipate as I watch perhaps some of my children grow into my own disability that this is something that I long to see in my life: the ability for God to use the disabilities of others to soften my heart and make me more dependent on Him and more like Jesus.

Joni: Well, Bob, I think your words have had a huge impact on many dads and moms of disabled children listening today. Thank you so much and God bless you for sharing that incredible good news of that great theologian who in turn impacted someone like D. L. Moody.

Bob: Amen!

© Joni and Friends

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