1122) A Tough Woman of God

Harriet Tubman  (c. 1822-1913)

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By Eric Metaxas at http://www.breakpoint.org, May 16, 2016

     When you open your wallet in few years, you may be seeing something different on the $20 bill:  The U.S. Treasury Department is proposing to take President Andrew Jackson off the front of the bill and replace him with one of my personal heroes:  Harriet Tubman.

     She is someone we should celebrate for what she did— rescue slaves— and for the lessons she teaches us today about when it’s appropriate to resist evil.

     Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1822.  As she grew up, she was made to work driving oxen, trapping muskrats in the woods, and as a nursemaid.

     Harriet’s owners frequently whipped her.  And she endured the pain of seeing three of her sisters sold, never to be seen again.  But when her owner tried to sell one of her brothers, Harriet’s mother openly rebelled.  The would-be buyer gave up after Harriet’s mother told him, “The first man that comes into my house, I will split his head open.”

     Her mother’s actions likely implanted in Harriet the idea that resistance to evil was right— and could sometimes be successful.

     As a child, Harriet herself revealed a strong rebellious streak.  She would run away for days at a time.  But there were rays of joy in her life, as well.  Harriet’s mother told her stories from the Bible, which developed in her a deep and abiding faith in God.

     When Harriet was about 26 years old, she learned that she might be sold away from her family.  The time had come to try to escape.  She made her way some ninety miles along the Underground Railroad.  She traveled at night to avoid slave catchers, following the North Star, until she reached Pennsylvania, and freedom.

     Once there, she dared to make a dangerous decision:  She risked her own freedom in order to give others theirs.

     For eight years, as America headed toward the cauldron of Civil War, she made many dangerous trips back to Maryland, leading scores of slaves north to freedom.  During these trips she relied upon God to guide and protect her.  She never once lost a runaway slave.  As Harriet herself later put it, “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

     She gave all the credit to God, explaining, “’Twant me, ‘twas the Lord.  I always told him, ‘I trusts in you.  I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me,’ and he always did.”

     No wonder she was known as Moses to her people.

     Her faith deeply impressed others.  As abolitionist Thomas Garrett put it, “I never met with any person of any color who had more confidence in the voice of God, as spoken direct to her soul.”

     During the Civil War, Harriet worked for the Union as a scout, spy, cook, and nurse to wounded and sick soldiers.  Amazingly, she even led an armed assault on Southern plantations, during which 750 slaves were rescued.  In later years, Harriet donated property to be turned into a home for indigent former slaves.

     She was an incredible woman— one we can and should celebrate and emulate.  Today there still is, sad to say, plenty of evil that needs resisting.  For instance, we’re increasingly facing the demands of bullies that we embrace laws and opinions that contradict the teachings of God…  

     When we lose heart fighting these battles, we should remember Harriet Tubman’s unflinching courage and unfailing faith in God’s guidance— and redouble our efforts to protect our own generation from efforts to enslave, not our bodies, but our heart and minds and souls.

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HARRIET TUBMAN QUOTES:

I said to de Lord, ‘I’m goin’ to hold steady on to you, an’ you’ve got to see me through.’

If you hear the dogs, keep going.  If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.  If there’s shouting after you, keep going.  Don’t ever stop.  Keep going.  If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.

I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.

As I lay so sick on my bed, from Christmas till March, I was always praying for poor ole master.  ‘Appears like I didn’t do nothing but pray for ole master.  ‘Oh, Lord, convert ole master; Oh, dear Lord, change dat man’s heart, and make him a Christian.’

Read my letter to the old folks, and give my love to them, and tell my brothers to be always watching unto prayer, and when the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step aboard.

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James 4:7  —  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Exodus 3:7-8a…10  —  The Lord said (to Moses), “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.  I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them…  So now, go.  I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Galatians 5:1  —  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Psalm 22:4-5  —  (My God), In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.  To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

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O God, you have given us life through your Son, Jesus Christ.  You have given us the security of faith in a world that longs for something on which to rely.  We give you thanks.  

Teach us to stand strong for your Kingdom.  Help us to know Your love and to love each other. 

Give us enough tests to make us strong, enough vision and endurance to follow Your way, enough patience to persist when the going is difficult, enough of reality to know our weakness, and enough humility to remember these gifts are from you.

Go before us to prepare the way; walk behind us to be our protection; and walk beside us to be our companion.  Amen.  (source lost)