by Olea Nel
Hankering to go, but needing to stay
A true story about facing the challenges of Christian leadership in a volatile environment of political intrigue and church secession
Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Murray has just married Emma Rutherfoord, the girl of his dreams, and is looking forward to resuming his ministry in Bloemfontein with her at his side. But he is barely back in town when trouble strikes. The small, land-locked Orange Free State throws up a series of nail-biting situations in which Andrew is called upon to play a central role. They include:
- The attempted take-over of the Orange Free State by Marthinus Pretorius, President of the Transvaal
- The devastation of Beersheba Mission by a Boer Commando during the Basuto War
- The secession of Psalm-singing (Dopper) members within his own congregation
- Antagonism towards his bilingual education program at Grey College
- The need to acquire Dutch teachers for his farm school project
Between dealing with all the tensions outside the home, there is also the small matter of Andrew only knowing his wife Emma for about seven face-to-face weeks before he married her. So on the home front, Andrew finds himself having to navigate marriage with a wonderfully talented wife, but one who knows her own mind.
Added to this is his growing desire to start over again in a new congregation. But although he hankers to go, there are responsibilities forcing him to stay, that is until God has finished with his training.
Daniel J. Dillard on Amazon wrote:
I have a family member from the USA who lives in South Africa now and I receive current reports of the political climate there. Andrew Murray's life and ministry have always interested me, I have read most of his own books. I enjoyed the two prior books about Mr. Murray by Olea Nel and this one as well. She writes in such a detailed style that I could picture myself in the settings and situations being described and got a real feel for the culture of the day. Andrew Murray was indeed an amazing minister, well respected by his peers, his congregation and those who didn't even attend church, brushing shoulders with both politicians and prisoners. I also enjoyed learning more about the history of South Africa. A great read!
L. Jackson on Amazon wrote:
In this third volume of her biography of the Rev. Andrew Murray of South Africa, Olea Nel succeeds in giving a fast-paced and hard to put down account of the ministry of this great man of God. She captures the complex and wide-ranging nature of Murray's faithful pastoral ministry in turbulent Boer South Africa. She shows how, in addition to faithfully shepherding his congregation, when called upon to do so Rev. Murray also ministered personally to the spiritual needs of civil and political leaders and also tactfully advised them in their public roles as leaders. Rev. Murray also promoted Christian education and Christian ethics in politics, in the complex relations between the Boers and the British and the native Africans. A compelling account of the wide-ranging ministry of a great pastor and man of God!
Olea shows her readers how God worked in and through Andrew Murray as he responded to everyday events: joyful events, disappointments and tragedies. Andrew’s sincere heart toward God and deep desire to see people come to know Him is evident in every situation. His hope for his own life was that his “little faith” would grow into a confident faith.
Several years ago, as an avid reader of Andrew Murray’s books, I set out to learn about South African history. I searched through my (American) Church History books and found nothing. I was stunned to see that something as important as the South African revival was not even mentioned. In fact there was not a word about Andrew Murray period! I really wanted to know what made this man ‘tick’ since it was his writing that helped me to see the personal caring heart of God. He certainly had an interesting life and, like Esther, seemed destined “for such a time as this” in his lifetime.
I absolutely agree with the author when she notes that the Christian life is more than prayer, study of the Word, theology and our intimate relationship with God; certainly God expects us to respond to situations and people in a Godly manner. (Actually it seems to be getting more difficult to do that every day as it seems the world has lost its mind on so many fronts!) But I do hope to see the connection between the social/political biography and the inner process of his heart and mind. How did he come to the place where he could write such insightful, truly uplifting books? His writing is the one thing that made me see God as One who cares for personal struggles in the life of the believer while, at the very same time, challenging us to us move beyond ‘self’ –- to take up our responsibility of allowing Him to use us in this world to continue the work of Christ on earth. I’m looking forward to the last book in this series!
About the author
Dr. Olea Nel was born in Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her training as a teacher in Andrew Murray's heartland of Wellington, she relocated to Australia to further her studies. Besides attaining a PhD in Linguistics, she also has qualifications in Information Studies and Theology. She has taught at several tertiary institutions in Australia.
On a trip to South Africa in 2010, she came to realize how little was known about Andrew Murray's life. This prompted her to embark on a major project that aims to give a factual account of Andrew Murray's spiritual pilgrimage in the form of a fictional trilogy, which can also be classed as a dramatized biography.
She has already published two novels in this trilogy, each one able to be read on its own:
*ANDREW MURRAY DESTINED TO SERVE (October 2014)--covers the first year of Andrew Murray's ministry
*ANDREW MURRAY DESTINED TO WIN (January 2016) --covers the years 1850-1856
She also aims to publish little-known works by Andrew Murray. Two that have already been published are:
*ANDREW MURRAY AT KESWICK: Three Unrevised Talks given in 1895
*ANDREW MURRAY AT EXETER HALL: Three Talks on Prayer given in 1895
Besides the projects listed above, she has also been exploring the works of Andrew Murray. Her blog posts can be viewed on her website at: http://www.oleanel.com