Life is so fascinating and how people find each other and connect can be such a God thing. This whole connectedness possibility is one of the reasons I struggle with decluttering (not an excuse, just a fact). My mom died several years ago and I still have boxes in my attic of her paper bits – her own writing and preserved writing of others that touched her heart. This week I am attempting to deal with some of my own piles of paper, and discovered, mixed in with mine, a folder of hers. What a delight for me to find an unknown connectedness in one of her papers to others in my life.
So before I quickly share those associations, here’s a definition of connectedness:
Social connectedness is the measure of how people come together and interact. At an individual level, social connectedness involves the quality and number of connections one has with other people in a social circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. – Wikipedia.org
I took the StrengthsFinders test a few years ago and found that connectedness is one of my top 5 strengths. This is a whole other subject but it informs the joy I had in discovering these connections.Photo Credit: StrengthsQuest, University of Arkansas
John E. Hunter (1909-2005) was a Christian writer, Bible teacher, and counselor. I never read any of his books until my friend, Jan McMurray, introduced them to me. Her connection with John E. Hunter came late in his life, after a stroke halted his public speaking.Photo Credit: www.ccel.com
“His ministry did not end at this point (after the stroke in 1994), as the Lord, in His miraculous way, brought a lady from Tennessee into his life. Jan McMurray had read one of John’s books, and wanted to buy more for her Bible Study group. When she found out that Zondervan was no longer republishing his books, she formed a publishing company called Fresh Springs, and republished four of his books – Finding What’s Missing; Let Us Go On to Maturity; Limiting God; and Knowing God’s Secrets.”*
Because of Jan’s vision, John Hunter’s books were re-introduced to another generation. We had the pleasure of all four of Hunter’s re-published books and might not have except for knowing Jan. She and John became friends in his last years of life. What a delight Dr. Hunter and his wife must have been to her, and she to them, in that season!
Another connection in this for me was the song “For This, I Have Jesus” by Graham Kendrick. John Hunter was known for this proclamation on any situation that came his way…especially the difficult ones. When Kendrick heard a pastor refer to an old friend and this saying, it stayed with him. In 1995, he wrote the song.
In 1995 is when we moved to Cairo, Egypt. Attending an international church, we would often sing songs by the English worship writers of that time. Graham Kendrick was one of my favorites, as was this song “For This I Have Jesus”.
Reflecting on all this, I decided to call my friend, Jan. It has been awhile since we talked. What a gift to catch up, as if we’d never left off. I asked her what happened with her publishing company and the Hunter books. She is in a different season now, and she passed the remainder of her inventory over to Henry Blackaby, a speaker and writer on revival and renewal. This is my final connectedness on this topic.
Henry Blackaby was very influential in my walk with God during my 30’s. Today there are other pastor/teachers in my life. Somehow (and I don’t know how), he and one of those pastor/teachers, Michael Catt, connected. How I know is that I was at a retreat a year or so ago, and Michael Catt was speaking. He had a book table including those very books of John Hunter that Jan had re-published through Fresh Springs. When I told her about it, she said, “We went to college together, Mike and I.”
Such is the nature of connectedness. Small world, big God.