Helen Keller knew God before she knew His name

Given the season, for me as a Christian, it is important not to focus too closely on all the negatives happening in the country, for which there is much. Instead, the focus should be more on uplifting stories, like how Helen Keller knew God, before she knew His name.

For those not familiar with her, she spent most of her life blind and deaf, but never let either stop her from living a remarkable life filled with an unshakable Christian faith in God.

Ann Sullivan, Helen Keller’s first teacher, was from the Perkins School for the Blind, and would be with her for many years as more than a teacher, but also a dear friend.

Once she was ready to learn more than could be taught at home, Helen Keller went to Perkins. It was about a month before her 8th birthday when she learned to read braille; she would go on to excel with other blind children, and a few deaf ones as well.

It was a fortuitous moment in her young life that led her to being able to be accomplished in numerous areas. That was where she was told about God and Jesus.

3 years after arriving at Perkins, she met Episcopalian Bishop, Phillip Brooks, author of Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem. 

From the American Foundation for the Blind:

Though Brooks never had a family of his own he possessed a boundless love for children. The prodigious, though handicapped, young Helen became the object of his love and concern. His goal was to teach her about God. How do you teach a deaf and blind girl about a spiritual thing which she could not touch and feel? Finally Mrs. Brooks, who was also deaf, explained to Helen about God’s love and, the child was overwhelmed and excited by her latest discovery and her new Christian friends.

Helen Keller’s response was, depending on the source as either, “Mr. Brooks, I have always known about God, but until now I didn't know His name” or “Oh, that’s His name! I didn’t know He had a name.” Given she was only 11 at the time, the latter is most likely.

Regardless of which version, it confirmed what she already knew to be true. Despite being blind and deaf, she always knew God existed. The only thing she was not aware of was God’s name.

She went on to accomplish a great many things, despite being blind and deaf. No matter the difficulties and hardships, she always faced them with an unwavering Christian faith. For she knew God before she knew God’s name.

In the darkness and silence of her childhood, she was never alone. God was with her from the beginning.

Bob Ryan is a writer who has an MBA. He is an American Christian Zionist who staunchly supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. He has been a weekly blogger at the Times of Israel since 2019.

Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.

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