“How could a young lady, still pursuing her studies, never having preached a sermon or sung a solo, never having traveled more than two hundred miles away from her home; how could her life so affect people in all parts of the world that they felt a mighty general had fallen”
I pondered on this question asked in her biography – “She was only 22”.
I can’t count how many times I’ve read that book. Peering into her story, I saw it, one after the other, the secrets of this life that always sends shivers, stir up prayers, and draws one to tears.
In the year 1910, Helen Ewan was born into an average family. She was the only child. Her parents loved the Lord, and had Him at the center of their home. Studying the Bible and obeying God in the minutest detail of life was their watchword. It was in this family that Helen grew.
From that little book about her life, I excerpted 7 lessons that made her life stand out:
1. “After her conversion at the age of fourteen, Helen’s whole personality was radiant with the glory of the Lord.”: That was the turning point, the starting point for a life of radiance – she was converted, from sinner to saint, through the a toning work of Jesus. Only that look at Jesus which brings conversion can make your life glow with this brightness that affects everyone around you. (And they looked unto Him, ye are the light of the world) You want to be a light, a city set on a hill, one who’s life story will be shake the world even after you’re gone? This is the initiation step – conversion.
2. “Deep appetite for the Word of God and a deep spiritual penetration into Divine truth.” Helen immersed herself in the word of God – page after page. “She did not just leaf through her Bible for palatable portions.” Not a bread and butter Christain; she ate, chewed, swallowed and digested everything. Sweet, bitter, sour – it didn’t matter to her as long as she saw it on the pages of the bible.
“As she studied the Word of God, under the illuminating guidance of the Holy Spirit, He took of the treasures of the Lord Jesus and revealed them unto her (John 16:14-15). This made her heart dance for joy. Many times she would stop Christians on the street and, with radiant face, tell of some choice portion of Scripture where she had found some new picture of her blessed Redeemer. These friends often left her presence weeping. They said, “We have seen Jesus; we have looked into His glorious face.” The awe of God remained upon their souls throughout the remainder of the day. She knew the Lord in such a deep intimate way.”
What radiance! Just like when Moses went up to the mountain to commune with God, the bible says that as he cane down, his face shone so bright that he had to veil it – the people were unable to look at him.
Girl, learn to sit at Jesus feet, with your Bible in your hands, studying it and beholding His glory – right in His word.
“It is the look that saves, but it is the gaze that sanctifies.” (R. Murray McCheyne)
3. “In her prayer life, Helen was such an example to us all.” She arose each morning around five o’clock to commune with her Lord. She would not put on the heat in her cold little room or seek to make herself comfortable in any way, feeling she could be more alert in the cold. And besides, those for whom she would be praying in foreign lands were not sitting in comfort.”
She would pray for herself, her family, and without fail, sinners around her and in distant lands. She was an intercessor – presenting missionaries and ministers before the throne of grace as they labored in the field of souls.
No wonder the lamentation after her death: “On far-off mission stations, Britain missionaries grieved at the news. Alas, who would bear them up so faithfully at the Throne of Grace now? Who would step into this gap and take her place?”
Girl, prayer is the power house, the engine of the life that is and will be significant – that will touch heaven, changing earth.
4. “All through the day she sought His (God) guidance in matters small and great. It was no small thing for her to shop for some personal piece of clothing and she might seem to pause in front of a store to seek His guidance before going in for a piece of ribbon! She must please Him in all things and she would not be led by the traditions of men. That no doubt explains the remark of her friends that – Helen was always dressed right.”
A relationship with God isn’t just a one hour prayer ritual; it is an every second, daily communion. Your life should revolve around Him.
You know how a lover will always think and dream about her loved one, wanting to be on the phone all day talking to him. She’ll tell him what she ate at night, where she’s going to, how the bus driver was rude to her… anything and everything.
That’s more than what God desires and demands in His relationship with you and I. Like Elizabeth Elliot said, “If you believe the God who controls the big things, you have to believe Him for the small things as well”.
“They that are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14) Therefore, if you’re a child of God, His Spirit must be the one leading and directing your every step, not the world. The traditions and ways of this world are at variance with God’s ways, and they pass away. But he that doeth God’s will abides forever. (1 John 2: 15-17)
5. “Helen’s seeking after lost souls also put us all to shame. In this way, more than one soul who was burdened with the cares of this life and bowed down with the weight of sin and despair was led to know the Savior as Helen pointed her to the Lamb of God under the lamp post or while waiting at the street-car stop.”
Your life and lips should always point men to Jesus. You can’t have Christ in you and be quiet; not telling others of His love, and persuading them to turn to Him.
6. “Helen carried the fragrance of Christ with her, and like William C. Burns she manifested the power of the Spirit. Her body was a walking temple of the Holy Spirit. Thus, wherever she went the power of God was manifested. When she entered into any service, immediately the atmosphere was charged with His power.”
“But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8) This is God’s promise to His children, and, that promise is for you. To receive it: be converted, sanctified, thirst for it, and pray.
The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people. (A. W. Tozer)
7. “Every growing girl has her own heroes and heroines. Helen was no different. Her favorite character was one of the Wigtown martyrs of the Covenanting days in Scotland, Margaret Wilson.”
Margaret Wilson died a gruesome death, at the age of 17, for her faith in Christ. As stated about Helen – She might not be asked to die for her Redeemer as was Margaret Wilson, but by His grace she would live for Him each moment of every day.
You need older, experienced figures, people who have traveled life’s road before you, whose life inspires you… You need to discover, be challenged, and learn from them. They may have lived long before you, be far away from you, or right in your community, your local church. Connect with them. Be mentored by them.
Elizabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Catherine Booth, Susana Wesley, Ruth Graham, Helen Ewan, Nacy Demoss… are examples of women who’s life and teachings have shaped my life and faith in profound ways. Though far away, some of them dead, their life and teachings keep transforming lives.
You can be one!
“So, let’s herald this prayer in unison: “Oh God, raise up others like Helen Ewan. Oh, God, make even me a better man for Thy glory!”
Excerpted from – She was only 22. If you see that little book, grab it and read – over and over.