Young Frances walked with her head down. A clever girl, she’d memorized Bible passages when she was only four and started writing poems at seven. But Frances was afraid of hell. She begged God to save her but feared she wasn’t saved.
Hymn writer Frances Havergal was born in 1836 in England, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman. She mastered six languages by her teen years. And it was a Greek verb tense in 1 John 1:7 that finally broke fear’s stranglehold on her: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Purifies. Not purified. Jesus’ blood keeps on cleansing us of our wrongs. This truth lifted young Frances’ head—directing her hymns and the rest of her life. When illness confined her, she fixed this passage to the foot of her bed. When she died at age 43, it was inscribed on her headstone.
Lord, rouse my conscience! The wrongs that should make me beg for mercy I instead wear like a badge of honor: my ear for juicy gossip, my “witty” sarcasm, my mama-bear nature that roars into action when my child is in any way slighted.
But when those wrongs crush me, Lord, reveal your comfort! Jesus’ blood wasn’t a temporary fix, like a $20 car wash. His precious blood purifies me over and over again. It leaves me brimming with forgiven joy and singing with Frances Havergal: “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise.”