May 14, 2007

Esther Burr

I heard an awesome sermon this weekend by Piper, "Holy women who hoped in God." The LORD has been ministering to me by the lives of so many godly women. So this week my hope is to share my study with you.

"There are countless women to serve as examples for us, both in the Scriptures and since those days. Esther was the second daughter of Jonathan Edwards—he had eight! She married Aaron Burr, who became President of Princeton College. She had learned her father's piety and put her hope in God, not man.

Her journals were just published in 1984 and you can read there about her fight of faith. For example, in 1754 she gave birth to a little girl named Sarah and discovered that she had what they called a "crooked neck." Esther humbled herself before God and wrote, "Perhaps God foresaw that we should be too proud of her, and so has sent this calamity to mortify us and her."

Three years later on September 24, 1757, Esther's husband died in the pursuit of his duties at the College. She does not gloss over her pain. She calls it a "deep wound." And says that "God only can know and to him alone would I carry my complaint." But then within two weeks she writes to her mother,

"God has seemed sensibly near, in such a supporting and comfortable manner that I think I have never experienced the like . . . Request earnestly of the Lord that I may never . . . faint under this his severe stroke . . . O I am afraid I shall conduct myself so as to bring dishonour on . . . the religion which I profess."

What is the one thing that a woman who hopes in God fears? She fears bringing dishonor on God. She fears that she may fail to glorify God under the rod of his hard providence. And how does she quiet her heart in the midst of that fear? She preaches herself a sermon about the character of God. Esther Burr wrote,

At night when retired felt calmed with the thought that God would be Glorified . . . The ever blessed God will lose none of his glory, let men or Devils do their worst."

Holy women who hoped in God: John Piper

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