On January 18, 1842, William Foy went to prayer meeting. Now, there was nothing strange about that, for William was often in church. He was a young, powerful, African American preacher who loved to tell others about Jesus. But this prayer meeting was different, and no one there that night would ever forget it.
As William began to pray during one part of the service, he fainted. Frightened worshippers rushed out to find a doctor. The doctor turned pale as he examined William. William wasn’t breathing, but somehow he seemed to have a normal heartbeat. William Foy was having a vision.
That first vision lasted two and a half hours. Of course, everyone there wanted to hear what William had seen. After all, none of them had ever witnessed such a strange sight. To their utter surprise, young William did not want to talk about what he had seen. He was afraid no one would believe him.
Just one month later William had a second vision. Three days later he was invited to share his vision in a large church. Speaking to a few African American members at his church was terrifying enough. How will I speak to a church filled with hundreds of strangers who do not look like me? he wondered. So William did the only thing he knew to do when afraid: he prayed.
As William desperately prayed for courage, he seemed to hear a voice saying, “I am with you.” That was enough. Young William Foy overcame his fears and told of his visions. He described heaven, the judgment of the world, as well as other events that would take place before Jesus comes again.
William had many difficult times, and often faced prejudice from people who did not like him because of his color. Yet he bravely accepted invitations to speak near and far. This was quite dangerous, because he could be accused of being a runaway slave, arrested, and forced into slavery. What’s more, Black people who lived during that time could not defend themselves in court when accused of a crime. These realities did not stop William from preaching the gospel, and trusting God to protect Him.
William Foy’s story is a great reminder that no matter our race or age, God has something special for each of us to do in life. Who knows what great things God has planned for you!
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