HOW GREAT THOU ART
By Anna May Young
I heard this hymn first at a Billy Graham Crusade in a football stadium when I was a teenager in Hong Kong (probably in the 1950s). It immediately touched my heart. It became my favourite hymn throughout my life. I remembered receiving the call to walk out for prayers. From then on, I went faithfully to church, but my heart did not totally surrender to Jesus.
My school in Hong Kong was a Christian school, so I studied the Bible, and did well in exams. This helped my head knowledge but not my heart. God never left me and was patiently waiting for me.
I had an opportunity to study in an Australian university. It wasn't that I was a smart student, but because of the grace of God. I received a scholarship from the Hong Kong government because of the recommendation of a head of the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, probably something I did not deserve. Of course, I was thankful to her. I studied very hard and committed my strength and time academically. I still went to church and fellowship faithfully, but it was not my priority.
One day a missionary came to share a message at the Overseas Students’ Christian Fellowship about the chain of sins. Only Christ could lift the chain. That was the time I started to have deep understanding of Christ's love for me by dying on the Cross to save me. I surrendered to Him at that meeting. That was also the time that I felt a great connection with missionaries who sacrificed their comfort life in order to proclaim the Good News to others. From that point on I became a prayer partner.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7
Though I accepted Christ as my personal Saviour and was baptized, I did not commit myself totally to Him, including my studies. I was able to manage the first year, but not the second year. Studies were hard because my English was not proficient enough to write or understand lectures to the fullest extent. When I failed two courses, I was totally devastated. I felt hopeless, not only because of failing but also because of financial burdens. I kneeled and prayed. Afterwards, I felt overwhelmed with awe of the mighty God. I confessed that I had not totally committed to Him alone.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
At that moment my burden was lifted. God changed me totally; studies were no longer my priority. The Bible became the Living Word to me. I was happy and peaceful. God was faithful to let me finish my degree. I returned to Hong Kong and worked at the Social Welfare Department until my immigration to Toronto, Canada.
Jesus has kept His promise that He is with me always. I can count many blessings. When I sing the hymn "How Great Thy Art", every verse is meaningful to me. Now in my golden years, l can claim Verse 4. I look forward to meet my Saviour face to face and proclaim "How Great Thy Art."
Anna May and her husband Gordon of nearly 48 years have two daughters and reside in Toronto, ON. Before retirement, Anna May worked as a teaching assistant at Trent University in Peterborough, ON where God gave her numerous opportunities to reach out His LOVE to Chinese overseas students from Hong Kong, China and South East Asia. Together she and Gordon were happy to build friendships with them and are still in contact with many of them today!