John Phillips Ministries

Insights: The Life of John Phillips (Part 5)

Betty Phillips on Apr 08, 2016

John made friends easily at the bank which had hired him. However, the pay scale was very low, even though he learned that the bank had plans to train him as a future manager.  He determined that he would do his very best, and soon he was advanced to the position of “accountant.”  Still, he was a stranger in a new country.  Vancouver Canada was a large city in British Columbia in the realm of the British Empire.  John was a British citizen, yet it seemed that everything was different.  He soon realized that any adjustments would have to be made by him.

When closing time came at the bank, he had nowhere to go.  So he walked the streets, trying to acquaint himself with the city.  He discovered a shop that sold typewriters, and found a small inexpensive one.  There was an advantage to having no place to go and nothing to do after working hours.  John found it was not difficult for him in that situation, to save his meager income until he was able to purchase the typewriter.

Then, a whole new world opened before him, and he began to write, never imagining that one day he would write books about the Bible….even Bible Commentaries, that would be read around the world. He knew and believed God’s Word when it said, “Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have.” For He has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

He remembered these words when the lady who he boarded with, as part of his board, provided a tomato sandwich for his lunch every day. However, on Saturday, he was on his own. So, he saved his money in order to purchase a meat pie from the bakery; they were like those he remembered from Wales. Then he ate it slowly…savoring every bite.

Though he didn’t complain, John was alone much of the time, and he began to feel the effects of being lonely. He felt these effects especially at times of great pain, as when his doctor treated him for lower back pain. He had no access to an automobile; his boarding house was on a hill, so he had to walk up the hill, stopping to relieve the pain when he could find a place to rest. His distress was beyond description when at last he reached the house, where he had a rented room. The boarding house owner often took pity on him and prepared a hot bath as per his doctor’s instruction. It was then that he realized how lonely he was…and in his pain, with no one to care, he thought of Jean, the girl at church who also was very lonely. Later, when they were together, he asked her why she felt lonely, and she told him her story.

Her mother had been very ill and her illness was diagnosed as tuberculosis, an incurable and communicable disease in those days. She was moved to a sanatorium, and never permitted to return home. The children were placed in the homes of relatives who were willing to care for them. Jean was taken in by a poor aunt who shared from her scarce resources, earned by cleaning the toilets on ferryboats.

John understood Jean’s loneliness, and their common need drew them together. When one looks at all the lives of God’s servants, it is not always possible to see that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

It is when one has the perspective of looking back over the lives of these servants, that His involvement in their affairs is easy to see. Perhaps John would sometimes sing, “No one understands like Jesus, He’s a friend beyond compare. Meet Him at the throne of mercy; you will find Him waiting there.

Less than a year from the day John was introduced to Jean, they were married…bringing to an end to lonely lives they had both led. Jean had many relatives, as well as her siblings, and John delighted in his new “family.” Furthermore, they combined their earnings and were able to give the poor aunt ten dollars a week, a scant amount in today’s market, but a tidy sum in those days.

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