Portrait of an Overcomer
...he shall rule them
with a rod of ironů.
Overcomers come in many shapes and sizes. Saints who are faithful to death are all sorts and conditions of both men and women, both young and old. If we conflate the promises in Revelation 2 and 3, they are all promised the crown of life. They keep Christ's word, and do not deny Him in an evil world. They persevere in doing good, and even if they lose something of their first love, they may repent and make a new start. The rewards described build up into a total picture, and it is not for us to apportion them, for we do not know how God's future will all work out. But imagine, if you will, the thought of the promise to rule the nations with a rod of iron being given to a little old gentle-mannered Welsh lady.
One such lady was Anna Laetitia Waring. She was born in 1820, in South Wales, in a Quaker family. Her father and her uncle were both writers. In her teens she began to write hymns, and when she was thirty she published a little book of hymns and meditations. She had joined the Church of England, and continued to write. Although she was shy of publicity, her hymns became widely known and used - even in the United States where they were published in Philadelphia by the 'Association of Friends for the Diffusion of Religious and Useful Knowledge'. She learned Hebrew so as to be able to read the scriptures in the original tongue. She never married. In later life she lived at Bristol, doing work for the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society'. She had a gentle and merry spirit, but also knew suffering. She died in Bristol in 1910.
Her hymns were very personal, 'marked by great simplicity, concentration of thought and elegance of diction'. 'The ideas of a Christian life which are wrought into the poetry are always both strong and tender, vigorous and gentle, brave and trustful.' Reading or singing them, we can sense the mind of an overcomer. Here are two examples.
In heavenly love abiding,
This hymn has several more verses which reveal her life full of humble service. It was not without disappointments and trials, but she was convinced that 'a life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty'. Is that the secret of overcoming?
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.' (Revelation 3.5)