The Apostle Of Abiding Love
"One day I was talking with a missionary," writes Andrew Murray, "and he said to me, ‘Brother, remember that when God puts a desire into your heart, He will fulfill it.’ That helped me; I thought of it a hundred times. I want to say the same to you who are plunging about and struggling in the quagmire of helplessness and doubt. The desire that God puts into your heart He will fulfill.
"If any are saying that God has not a place for them, let them trust God, and wait, and He will help you and show you what is your place. I have learnt to place myself before God every day, as a vessel to be filled with His Holy Spirit. He has filled me with the blessed assurance that He, as the everlasting God, has guaranteed His work in me. If there is one lesson that I am learning day by day, it is this; that it is God who worketh all in all. Oh, that I could help any brother or sister to realize this!"
One of four children born to Andrew, Sr. and Maria Murray, Andrew Murray was raised in what was considered then the most remote corner of the world, Graaff-Reinet (near the Cape), South Africa. It was here, after his formal education in Scotland and three years of theological study in college in Holland, that Andrew Murray returned as a missionary and minister.
Murray's first appointment was to Bloemfontein, a remote and unattractive territory of nearly fifty thousand square miles and twelve thousand people beyond the Orange River. Even at this early stage of ministry, he already showed signs of becoming a noted author. The deeper Christian life was a favorite subject for Murray. He told how God was committed to revealing more of Himself to those who would seek Him.
As a preacher, he consistently drew large crowds and led many to trust Christ as their Savior. But Murray's life was not without testing. As a young man, an enduring sickness left him weak and exhausted. Later at the prime of his ministry, a severe illness resulted in his absence from the pulpit for two years. But God used each trial to remove all that hindered his devotion to Christ.
Murray wrote, "That awful pride and self complacency which have hither to ruled in my heart." He fought an insidious battle with pride, but God had the victory.
"I had never learnt with all my theology that obedience was possible," writes Murray. "My justification was as clear as noonday. I knew the hour in which I received from God the joy of pardon. I remember in my little room at Bloemfontein how I used to sit and think, What is the matter? Here I am, knowing that God has justified me in the blood of Christ, but I have no power for service. My thoughts, my words, my actions, my unfaithfulness, everything troubled me."
Murray's daughter wrote of her father, "It was after the ‘time of silence’ [in sickness] when God came so near to father and he saw more clearly the meaning of a life of full surrender and simple faith. He began to show in all relationships that constant tenderness and unruffled lovingkindness and unselfish thought for others which increasingly characterized his life from that point. At the same time he lost nothing of his strength and determination."
When revival came to Cape Town, Andrew Murray was hesitant. He didn't want to be swept away in the heart of emotion. But Murray quickly realized that God was working in South Africa the same way He was in America. The result was an even deeper knowledge of the things of God. He writes in The Secret Of Adoration, "Take time. Give God time to reveal Himself to you. Give yourself time to be silent and quiet before Him, waiting to receive, through the Spirit, the assurance of His presence with you, His power working in you.
"Take time to read His Word as in His presence, that from it you may know what He asks of you and what He promises you. Let the Word create around you, create within you a holy atmosphere, a holy heavenly light, in which your soul will be refreshed and strengthened for the work of daily life."
Friends share how the Murray home was always filled with activity. He and his wife, Emma, had nine children, and there was an endless stream of visitors and friends. In 1873, Andrew helped to establish the Huguenot Seminary, a school where young women could be trained for educational work. Girls from all over the country began arriving. When classes opened, the building was too small for all who had enrolled and a wing had to be added.
He also served as the first president of the Young Men's Christian Fellowship (YMCA). Not only was he the author of over two hundred and forty books, he was also a man of great prayer. Through his private devotion with the Savior, he learned that laughter and fellowship were two of life's most important activities.
He often prayed, "May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God's presence and may not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love."
Abiding in Christ was the cornerstone to Andrew Murray's life and ministry. He writes: "Abide in Jesus: your life in Him will lead you to that fellowship with God in which the only true knowledge of God is to be had. His love, His power, His infinite glory will, as you abide in Jesus, be so revealed as it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive."