Susannah Wesley-On Little compromises 

Susannah Wesley was one of the the great mothers of history. One day one of her daughters wished to do something which was not altogether bad, but which was not right. When she was told not to do it, she was not convinced. 

It was late and she and her mother were sitting beside a dead fire. Her mother said to her: "Pick up that bit of coal." "I don't want to," said the girl. "Go on," said her mother. "The fire is out, it won't burn you." "I know that," said the girl. "I know it won't burn me but it will blacken my hands." "Exactly," said Susannah Wesley. "That thing which you wish to do won't burn, but it will blacken. Leave it alone."


Susannah Wesley died July 23,1742.

Ten of Susannah Wesley's nineteen children died before they were two years old and one of her daughters was deformed. Yet Susannah wrote in her diary that all her sufferings served to "promote my spiritual and eternal good. Glory be to Thee, O Lord."

Susannah's father refused to obey an English law of 1662 forcing all clergymen to obey the Book of Common Prayer. Five thousand of these Christians, called "Nonconformists", died in English prisons for their faith.

Susannah's husband tried to remain with the Church of England. For this, his barns were burned and his own disgruntled congregation had him arrested and thrown to prison. During this time Susannah endured terrible poverty. A thief slashed the udders of the family cow so she had to find milk for her family elsewhere. Susannah declared, "Religion is nothing else than doing the will of God and not our own."

She home-schooled her children six hours a day. One day their roof was burned by irate parishioners. All the family escaped unharmed except for six-year-old John who jumped from a window as the roof fell in. He became John Wesley the preacher, the founder of the Methodists, and was later barred from most of the churches in England.

Another son, Charles Wesley, is remembered for the hundreds of hymns that have brought pleasure to churches for many years. Remember that it was the courageous, tenacious faith of this Bible-believing woman that gave Christendom two of the most important figures of the 18th century.

Let us take heart in our own trials with the fact that most major spiritual battles and victories which have affected the lives of later generations, were not won with light conversations around a bowl of punch or eggnog. They were won by the sacrifices of those hidden stones under our feet. May we follow in their steps.


Family of Destiny 2001