I’ve not seen the movie, 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. I’ve only read the book. Those of us who appreciate the privilege of reading, understand the difference in reading an author’s written account of a true story, as opposed to a motion picture rendition.
Within a few paragraphs, I was completely intrigued with Mr. Northup. By the end of the book, I was wishing that God had blessed us with many more good men and women of Mr. Northup’s caliber.
Northup’s story is an example of grace beating back cruelty. His faith under fire is a testament of victory that lives on long after he walked from this life to the next. Those whom he encountered who lived with little control over themselves, yet loved wielding control over others and maintaining it with low-brow brutality, left a legacy too. The legacy they left is one that rates as disgusting and shameful, completely overshadowed and bright out by that of Mr. Northup.
A short bit about Mr. Northup and why he wrote his heart-rending yet beautiful book. He was born in 1808, in the state of New York. He was a black man and a free man during the days when slavery was still practiced in the southern states. Mr. Northup was self-employed, earning a good living, with a lovely wife and three beautiful children. He grew up in a loving home and had devoted his energy and much love into establishing the same for his own family.
His wife, Ann Hampton Northup, was also a business woman and the couple was well respected in both their business community, both personally and professionally. But, everything they’d worked for, and life as they knew it, came to a halt when Mr. Northup woke up one morning in a strange place, wearing shackles and chained to a bench. From there, the sun slipped below the horizon and Mr. Northup’s existence for the next 12 years was different in ways he never imagined in his worst of dreams.
What did he do to survive? He prayed. And throughout his story of encountering terrible people in terrible places, there is a river of compassion, hope, and love flowing through his soul with such turbidity that erupts in his writing spilling into and saturating his book.
I learned things in this book I wish man couldn’t conceive to write, let alone act out. But, Mr. Northup’s book testifies of a truth written by the Apostle Paul, whom before giving over his life to Christ, was once upon a time was as horrible a soul as some of the southerners Mr. Northup encountered.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound Romans 5:20 (KJV)
A reminder to be thankful...
I’m grateful that by God’s grace I was born a southerner, for what I hope are the right reasons. In addition, I wish all of us who hail from the south could share a history that wasn’t built on the backs of slaves, but since it’s a heritage many of us share, we can use it to ensure we do better with the blessings God has given us. To love others and always bear in mind that God is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34 KJV)
Someday, when I arrive at home myself, I plan to meet Mr. Northup. I’d like to shake his hand, give him a big hug and thank him for sharing his story. It will remain a huge blessing to me and be a source of consistent inspiration. In his suffering, he provided yet further affirmation of millions of us cling to the Light and Love of our souls that He too, was intimately familiar with.
Currently, this book is available on amazon.com for the small price of $.99. I hope you'll be inspired to get a copy for yourself and anyone to whom you'd like to gift a healthy dose of encouragement and inspiration.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (JOHN 1:5 KJV)
That's it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for the read and see you next week!
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