Author and Missionary
Hannah Hurnard was raised in a strong Christian (Quaker) family. Despite the faith of her parents, as a child, Hannah found Quaker meetings unutterably dull, and hated Sunday. She was never able to “feel God” when she prayed, as her parents, and other Quakers did. Unlike them, she did not enjoy reading the Bible. As she matured, she began to entertain doubts about Christianity. She never saw her prayers answered, and began to wonder if God was even there.
Hannah also suffered from many fears and phobias, including a stuttering problem that got worse when she had to speak in front of strangers. By the time she was 19, Hannah wished she were dead. She even considered suicide, but her fears prevented her. What if God was real after all?
In her 19th year, her father took her to a Holiness revival meeting that was to last a week. Hannah grudgingly went, hoping that if God were real, perhaps she would finally “meet Him.” However, to her dismay, the convention seemed to be like every other boring service that Hannah had ever attended. Once again, she felt isolated and left out, as everyone seemed to be getting blessed except for her. None of the preaching seemed to touch her heart.
Finally, alone in her room, Hannah cried out to God to make Himself real to her. Randomly opening her Bible, she came upon the passage of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel. Suddenly, Hannah realized that God was calling for a sacrifice—and that the sacrifice was her life. God wanted her mouth for His use—stuttering and all. Hannah could think of no greater hell than having to speak publicly. She argued with God about it, but after realizing that she was already in hell without Him, Hannah finally surrendered her heart---and at once her heart was filled with peace and joy.
God received the sacrifice of Hannah’s mouth and used it for His glory. He took away her stuttering, so that she was able to share the gospel with others clearly. The Bible she once hated became and treasure and a delight. Though she continued to wrestle with a spirit of fear, Hannah found deliverance as she continued to follow the Lord in obedience. Later, she was to write the best selling, “Hind’s Feet in High Places” as a result of her experiences with the Lord. She went to Israel as a missionary to the Jews in 1932, and lived there through the war for independence in 1948. In Israel, she served as a housekeeper in a hospital--a kind of work she had detested before her surrender, but now loved.
While Hannah’s books have blessed and strengthened Christians all over the world, many are unaware that Hannah Hurnard began to preach universal salvation later in life. This caused a great deal of persecution in her life. While publishers continued to print “Hind’s Feet” and other books, her name was smeared in evangelical circles. To this day, her books which share her testimony and reasons for believing in universal salvation are rare and very difficult to find.
Hannah herself, as a younger Christian, had often displayed the same attitude of scorn toward others whom she felt had had departed from 'sound doctrine'. In her book, Kingdom of Love” she documents how the Lord broke her of this tendency:
"There is an interesting account of one of God's servants listening at a theological college to a professor who was discrediting the Virgin Birth in one of his lectures, and yet the professor himself was a sincere and earnest follower of the Lord Jesus, though intellectually he could not accept that particular doctrine. As he listened, this servant of God grew more and more troubled and wretched until he could bear it no longer, and, lifting his heart to the Lord, he exclaimed inwardly, 'Lord, what is the truth? What am I to believe? And how can one who professes to love and serve you deny the Virgin Birth?' And gently and clearly, it seemed to him, the Lord gave an answer, which for him was the perfect answer. He said, 'I was born of a virgin, but I accept those who don't see it.'" Hannah's comment on this - "Some glad day we shall all see and understand a great deal of truth to which we are now blind, and then we shall be very thankful indeed that the Lord did not wait, nor refuse to accept us, until we could and would understand all that he meant us to know about him."
Even later in life, Hannah appears to have gone past scripture by embracing reincarnation and many other new age ideas. While we at Tentmaker do not endorse all her beliefs late in life, we honor her for her heart after God, and her willingness to take an unpopular stand for the truth.
An Excerpt from Unveiled Glory, Hannah's testimony of how she came to have faith for God to save all.
Books by Hannah Hurnard
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