God Loves Us As We Are
God Loves Us As We Are
Charlotte Elliot, born in 1789, grew up in the home of a minister in Brighton, England. She was a popular young woman, however, after she became extremely ill in 1821, she grew discouraged and bitter. The frustration with her illness led to Elliot becoming angry at God. She reasoned, “If God loved me, He would not have treated me this way.”
In an attempt to process her raw emotions, the family invited a Swiss minister, Dr. Cesar Malan, to visit. During a discussion at dinner one evening, Charlotte lost her temper and lashed out at her family and God. Not knowing how to respond, the embarrassed family left the minister and angry young woman to talk privately. As they talked he asked, “You are tired of yourself, aren’t you? You are holding on to your hate and anger because you have nothing else in the world to cling to. Consequently, you have become sour, bitter and resentful.” She asked sullenly, “What is your cure?” He gently replied, “The faith you are trying to despise.”
Elliot refused to talk much at the time, but their conversations had made an impact on her. A few days later she visited the minister and apologized saying she wanted to clean up her life before she became a Christian. Dr. Malan said she need not attempt to clean up her life before coming to God— she needed to, “come just as you are.” That day she embraced the faith she had once bitterly rejected.
Elliot eventually discovered a verse which became special to her. “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37, NIV)
Although she would be somewhat ill for the remainder of her 82 years, she changed that day and left behind the bitterness which had once consumed her. In the next 50 years she would write 150 hymns. Most are not well known, but one really struck a chord and became well-loved. It is the song Billy Graham had sung at the end of his sermons when he invited listeners to respond to God’s love.
The words are as true today as they were when Elliot wrote them well over 100 years ago. “Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, Oh, Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
After Elliot’s death in 1871, her family was pleasantly surprised to discover she had kept over 1,000 letters from people who had written to say they had been touched by her heartwarming hymn. Discovering God loves us where we are was amazing in the 1800’s and it still remains a powerful beacon of hope to everyone who seeks God.