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Bishop Asbury was a circuit-riding, Methodist preacher who lit gospel fires all across the American frontier, and who was no stranger to hardship and suffering.


Asbury suffered from one chronic ailment after another, so much so that one biographer calls him a "Job of old on horseback." Migraine headaches plagued him throughout his life, and chronic throat infections would become so severe that doctors feared he would strangle. He wrestled with malaria, asthma, pneumonia, rheumatism, high fevers, and other diseases, and in his mid-forties he plunged onward, convinced he could not live another year. But he lived to the age of seventy-one.


I would like to tell a story here about Bishop Asbury, but it seems to have nothing to do with suffering. Then again, maybe it has a lot to do with how he could suffer so much and still keep going. He had a reputation for always being thankful for things even when the situation was meager. He would often start his prayers saying " We thank you Lord for. . . " One day, he and his traveling companion had ridden all day in freezing rain to get to a little settlement on the frontier. They had had to detour around fallen trees, and landslides, and finally arrived at the settlement after dark, half frozen, hungry, and very tired. To make matters worse, no one had gathered for the meeting as had been arranged. So, Asbury and his companion set out in opposite directions to gather a few of the faithful. Just as the meeting was about to start, Asbury’s companion thought to himself, "I wonder what he is going to thank the Lord for this time," since there was seemingly nothing good about the whole day. As Asbury prayed, he finished with the words, "And Lord, we thank Thee that every day is not like this one."

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