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In 1851 a group of British missionaries to Tierra del Fuego was forced to winter in the bitter cold while they waited for their supply ship to arrive.  It came too late.  They all died of cold and starvation.  On Good Friday, April 18th, Richard Williams, a surgeon and Methodist lay preacher, wrote in his journal, “Poor and weak though we are, our abode is a very Bethel to our souls [Genesis 28:10-19], and God we feel and know is here.”  On Wednesday, May 7th, he wrote, “Should anything prevent my ever adding to this, let all my beloved ones at home rest assured that I was happy beyond description when I wrote these lines and would not have changed situations with any man living.”

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  John 14:23


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14 thoughts on “Happy beyond description”

  1. Alex Philip says:

    I am richer every time I read your blog.

  2. russ says:

    I agree with Alex, I am richer because of this blog.

  3. Ruth McFarland says:

    I agree that this is one very worthwhile blog every day I read it. Thanks Buddy (sorry but that is who you are to me from the day we met in 1952.)

  4. Rute Castro says:

    Wow! Awesome. Thank you, Lord, for be there for us… always!!

  5. This is exactly what i needed to see today about how to be content in any situation :)
    I got redirected here by facebook from John Piper..what a beautiful testimony …even though this happened all those years ago, this is an amazing story of testimony of faith in our Lord, Our savior, Jesus Christ..who is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE :)

    Amen!!! :)

    1. Ray Ortlund says:

      Thanks, Jane. I believe that contentment in any situation is a profound form of worship.

  6. Tim says:

    Chase Gardner has a cool post on suffering today.
    http://chasegardner.blogspot.com/2010/02/suffering.html

  7. Lottie B. Haswell says:

    Thanks to John Piper, I found this quote. Pastor Ray Ortlund is STILL active? How great! I attended his church some back around 1968-72. May his tribe increase.
    Lottie still ministering in Brazil as Help Meet to Pastor Henry

  8. Wow! Is there anything else to say?

  9. Alcaff says:

    “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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