By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – May 6, 2016) — She earned the nickname of ‘Moses’ because she led so many of her people from bondage in the house of slavery to the promised land of freedom along the Underground Railroad. A woman of deep Christian faith, she followed God’s voice and pursued the visions He planted in her heart to achieve true greatness.
Soon she will be honored as the first African-American to be featured on U.S. currency.
Raised on a plantation in Maryland, her mother – a cook in the “big house” – taught her Bible stories. She came to faith in Jesus as her Savior and Lord at her mother’s apron strings.
While Tubman never learned to read, she had a phenomenal memory and memorized long passages of Scripture that informed her captivating oratory later in life.
One terrifying incident as a 13-year-old slave severely impacted her future. When Tubman refused to help tie up another disobedient slave, an overseer hurled a two-pound weight toward her, which struck her head and cracked her skull, according to the book Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Larson.
Bleeding and unconscious, she was carried back to her owner’s house and laid on the seat of a loom, where she remained without medical care for two days.
Then she was sent back into the fields to work. As she bent over the crops, blood and sweat rolled down her face until she couldn’t see and could work no more.
Tubman began having seizures in the weeks and months that followed her injury and she would fall asleep at irregular times without warning. Her slave master recognized her diminished capacity and tried unsuccessfully to sell her.
Larson believes she may have suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy as a result of the damage to her skull, which stayed with Tubman the rest of her life.
Sadly, Tubman’s bouts of uncontrollable sleepiness caused some to think she lacked intelligence. But appearances in this case were deceiving. In spite of the injury, she retained acute mental faculties and began to pray for her master: “Oh, dear Lord, change that man’s heart and make him a Christian.”
One day she learned that she would be sent to a chain gang in the far south – considered a terrible fate for any slave. The tone of her prayers shifted, and began to mimic the imprecatory prayers of David. “Lord, if you ain’t never going to change that man’s heart, kill him Lord, and take him out of the way, so he won’t do no more mischief.”
The prayer proved prophetic. Tubman’s master died suddenly shortly after the prayer and she was filled with remorse. “Oh, I would give the world full of silver and gold if I had it to bring that poor soul back; I would give everything! But he was gone, I couldn’t pray for him no more.”
In 1849, when Tubman was in her late twenties, she felt she heard the Lord’s voice urging her to flee northward. After an initial attempt with her two brothers that failed, she set out again by herself, hiding during daylight hours and traveling by night, fixing her eyes on the North Star for direction.
Photo captions: 1) Harriet Tubman. 2) Tubman at the end of her life. She passed away in 1913.3) Mark Ellis.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and also founder of www.GodReports.com), a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world. He is also co-host for “Widows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, which is airred on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv).
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