In Trouble and Joy, Four Women Who Lived for God

Sharon James

By Sharon James. 288pp. Cloth bound, £13.95. Published by Evangelical Press, Grange Close, Faverdale North, Darlington. DL3 0PH (or Evangelical Press U.S.A., P.O. Box 825, Webster, New York 14580, USA.) ISBN 085234 546 1.

This book, published in a special limited edition, provides fascinating insight into the lives of four individual Christian women. Two earlier books, both well-received, have come from the pen of the author, Sharon James, whose academic background is apparent in the methodical, systematic way in which she assembles the factual material that provides a framework for the biographies of Margaret Baxter, Sarah Edwards, Anne Steele and Frances Ridley Havergal. What makes this book distinctive is the sensitive way in which she has drawn beautiful spiritual portraits of women, who in their times consciously adopted lifestyles that were entirely compatible with their main intention in life; service for God.

All four of these women led eventful lives that included trial as well as triumph. The testimony each bore in life was that true faith cannot be quenched, and that it may be seen to prevail in any circumstance of life. By today’s standards, not one of them lived to a ripe old age, (only one reached sixty years), but such time as was granted to them was used effectively and unselfishly.

Anne Steele, and Frances Ridley Havergal wrote many of the hymns we sing today, and various examples are included. Such was their dedication to the cause of service for Christ, their Saviour and Lord, that each lived out the sentiment of Frances Ridley Havergal’s best known, muchloved hymn, ‘Take my life, and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee’.