Out Of Weakness Were
By Lois J. Stucky
At the age of 97 Ĺ, Helen Coe has been summoned to that joyful, eternal Home, where her dear Saviour and many friends and loved ones rejoice in her coming. Helen was called to depart and be with the Lord on November 28, 2002.
From 1960 until she retired in 1985 at the age of 80, Helen was a much-loved worker at Herald of His Coming. Her last years at the Herald she had strength to work only part-time. We welcomed her to come as long as she could. Although she could not carry a full load of office work, her prayers and faith and sweet, cheerful spirit were much valued in our midst. After she was no longer able to come into the office, she remained part of the Herald "family," keeping closely in touch and praying for us.
Helenís earlier working years in the business and professional field, were attended by health problems. She had to change jobs frequently, and sometimes she had to change climates as well. But God used those times of new beginnings to build Helenís faith in Him, and to fit her for her later work with faith ministries.
Of one such time of change she wrote: "Caught in my mid-twenties in the grip of asthma, with only temporary help from a doctor, I needed to get away from my parentsí farm home in the Ozarks and go to a dry climate. Acquaintances on a neighboring farm recommended the climate in San Angelo, Texas, as they had relatives there. It was decided at home I should go there.
"Being sick, having with me only several cartons of home-canned food and little money beyond my bus fare, I had to launch out into the unknown leaning heavily on the Lord. He did not fail! When I got off the bus in San Angelo I phoned the relatives of the neighbor back home and asked their recommendation of a medium-priced hotel. There I spent that New Yearís Eve night. The next day the Lord used a friend whom I met at church the evening before to help me find the apartment of His choice. That experience was more or less a Ďlaunching padí toward subsequent lessons in faith.
"The example before me was in Hebrews 11:34: ĎOut of weakness were made strong.í"
By the time Helen joined the Herald staff, the Lord had delivered her from asthma and migraine headaches, in answer to prayer and faith. Many a time as we gathered for Herald devotions, she thanked God for breath to praise and thank Him. "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!" she would quote, as she joyfully broke into praise, something she was hampered in doing before her healing. Helen had a sweet devotion to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. She often requested we sing the chorus, "Just want to tell You Iím thankful for all that You have doneÖ." before we began to bring our requests before Him.
Helenís main assignment at Herald of His Coming was to read and process some of the mail that came from readers living outside U.S.A. No one had more personal interest in those whose records she handled day after day than she had. Jotting little notes on the records from things the writers shared in their letters, helped personalize and endear them to her. Their prayer requests were taken to her heart.
During the years of the Iron Curtain, Helen supervised the staff in making careful monthly mailings to the limited number of friends we could reach in curtained-off countries. If any responses came, she shared them with excitement. It was great joy to her to develop a personal correspondence with several, and to hold them up before the Lord for the special needs they experienced in their difficult situation.
Prior to coming to Herald of His Coming Helen had attended a short-term soul-winning school and later worked in the office of the school and its associate mission. Still fired to win souls for Christ when she joined the Herald staff, she inspired some of us to join her in going out on the streets of Los Angeles with tracts and Salvation heralds, or door-to-door, or into nursing homes, sometimes making contacts, sometimes only leaving literature.
Her time at the school and mission had given her a circle of dedicated friends, many of whom went as missionaries to other countries. When she joined the Herald staff, Helen was writing to 80 missionaries in 14 countries. Gradually the number of missionary friends on the field decreased, but she was still writing to some when she was 90 years of age. She faithfully remembered her beloved missionary friends in prayer. More than once, when several of us were traveling in a car with her, she involved us all in an impromptu missionary prayer meeting, redeeming the traveling time.
Helen was a regular in the Herald of His Coming prayer times as well, bearing up the need for revival in the Church and the evangelization of the world. She was ever ready at a momentís notice, in the midst of office work, to ask for or join in prayer for some special need that crossed our desks. Helen often wept as she prayed, her tender spirit being moved upon by the Holy Spirit and accomplishing things in the spiritual world that are best known to God. Just a glimpse of that was given us when a girl to whom she and another were witnessing later said that it was Helenís tears as she stood silently praying while the other witnessed, which first touched the girl and opened her heart to put her trust in Christ.
During her earlier years when sickness and weakness kept her unemployed and at home, Helen wisely used time for memorizing Scriptures, poems and hymns. This provided her a store of wealth from which she drew appropriate verses in a momentís time to use in her letter writing, praying, informal counseling, conversation, etc.
Helen was keenly aware of her physical limitations, but she picked up the phrase, "The weak influence the strong" and was comforted in her lack of physical stamina to do as much as she longed to do in speeding out the Gospel. Some of us able to carry heavier loads of work, gladly acknowledge that her love and prayers and wise counsel played a part in what we were able to accomplish for the Lord.
Those of us who knew her physical weakness through the years are "astonished" that God sustained Helen to live over 97 years! But fairly early in life she saw in Godís Word that there are those who "out of weakness were made strong" ( Heb. 11:34). She trusted God to fulfil that Word to her. She fixed her faith on the faithful God and He was able to make of her a useful and fruitful handmaiden whose life blessed many.
God tells us He has chosen "the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Cor. 1:27). It is His way. When the trust of the weaker ones, and the stronger ones as well, is in the Lord and not in themselves, God is glorified as He is free to do His works through their lives, often even above what is asked or thought.
Natural strength can become oneís weakness. Naturally strong, talented and gifted people easily rely on their own strength and wisdom and not on the divine help which God is able and waiting to bestow. How our Lord must grieve at times when He has something important for us to do and we rush into it in our own strength and wisdom. The result is woefully short of what He wanted to accomplish.
God had to remind His dynamic servant Paul, to look to Him for grace to bear that which threatened to overwhelm him: "My strength is made perfect in weakness." Paulís admirable reaction was to glory therefore in his weakness. It would cast him more fully upon the Lord Jesus Christ whom he adored. With strength drawn from the Lord he would say, "When I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:9,10), for he had the strength of the Lord within him.
What might God be asking you to do that seems much too great for you? He doesnít expect that you will accomplish His bidding in your own strength. See how graciously He plans to provide all you need to do it: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isa. 41:10). See the extent of that help: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).
What circumstances are causing your heart to grow faint and feel near collapse? Godís plan is that you "be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. 3:16). Moreover, His provision is that you not just endure, but that you endure with joyfulness (Col. 1:11).
This is possible as we are filled with the Holy Spirit and walk in His fullness. In this very crucial hour which could make our hearts faint rather than fight the good fight of faith, might we all stir ourselves up and seek God to be filled continuously with the blessed Holy Spirit, whom the Father gives to them that obey Him (Acts 5:32).
* For the blessed fellowship of praying, working, giving friends which God is using to help maintain the monthly ministry of Herald of His Coming, and for the part it is able to have in helping prepare the way for the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ! To each one participating, we say a hearty "Thank you! God bless you!"
* That this issue of Herald of His Coming will be anointed to fulfill Godís highest purpose in the hearts of readers.
* That God will help us locate a good used folding machine that will be able to fold the front page of Herald of His Coming from a one-half fold to a one-quarter fold.
* For a van or pickup truck to replace our aging Cavalier station wagon, needed to transport Heralds from the office to the mailing service each month.
* That God will raise up new donors to replace some faithful friends no longer able to take part as in the past. Ask Godís blessing on those who faithfully stand with us, making it possible to continue the output of 70,000 Herald of His Coming papers monthly into about 150 countries of the world.
* Pray for Godís intervention in world affairs to keep open doors for the spread of the Gospel.
* Seek the Lord until He comes with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit to revive His Church worldwide and to awaken a world lost in sin!