In Chapter Two we learn that “Elizabeth professed faith in Christ…at the tender age of twelve” but that “she would look back in years to come and seriously question whether she had truly been converted at that time.”
Mrs. James goes on to record her spiritual wrestlings: “she vacillated: at some points she felt very sure of her faith, was diligent in Bible reading and prayer, and devoured Christian books; at other times she would become completely absorbed in novels, poetry, music, drawing, clothes, and friends.”
Then, in the midst of a local revival in 1838, Elizabeth began to be tormented by doubt: “while she was leading others to faith in Christ, she lost the assurance that she herself was a Christian.” So intense was her despair that it even affected her physical health!
Finally, after many months of distress and prayer, “she was assured her sins were forgiven and she was full of joy.”
Many of us can relate to Elizabeth’s struggle with a lack of assurance. Or, if we have children, we can be unsure how to help them evaluate the state of their soul. Few things are more important than discerning the legitimacy of our child’s profession of faith or coming to a place of personal assurance of salvation.
So, we called in a pastor for this one—Dad of course! He is our go-to-source for the best books and resources on any given topic.
If you are personally struggling with assurance, he recommends:
How Can I Be Sure I’m A Christian? by Donald Whitney
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
Holiness Chapter Seven: “Assurance” by JC Ryle
For parents, he would encourage you to read/listen to:
Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen
“How Children Come to Faith in Christ” by Jim Elliff (audio cds)
“Childhood Conversion” by Jim Elliff (online article)
We hope these resources serve you and your children and that God may grant you the same joy and fellowship with Him that Elizabeth experienced!
BOOK CLUB ASSIGNMENT: In Chapter Three, we learn about Elizabeth’s single years. So teenagers and singles—your assignment for this week is to read the chapter and email us your answer to the following question: “How did Elizabeth display biblical womanhood as a single woman and how are you inspired to follow her example?