From the stretch of her womb
And the dawn of his birth
It was early assumed
By weight and by girth
He was one fit son for this earth
How could this child survive the day he faced a once hidden curse?
Only through the blessing, that his mum loved him first
We love him, because he first loved us.... I John 4:19 (KJV)
Joseph (John) Merrick was born in Leicester England April 11,1890. He was named after his father as a prized heritage. His mother Mary Jane wondered, as a crippled woman, could she give rise to a healthy baby, this her first one?
Little Joseph seemed fine until the age of three, when mysteriously he developed unexplained bumps from head to toe. Could it be the sign of a curse? How far would this grow?
As the boy grew awkwardly, the lumps did too, until enlarged, like toxic mushrooms. But he mostly resembled how he would often be described through his life, as a "misshaped elephant." Not so much, that his right arm resembled a tusk, but the grayish-hue to his body, furthered everyone's fuss.
When Joseph was twelve his mother had died, but not before the fruit of her womb expanded their family with another boy, and a baby girl too. For the time she was on this delicate earth, she had treasured all of her children beyond measure and worth.
Afterward the elder Joseph remarried, but his new bride did not carry, the same love and affection for this freakish boy's direction. She wanted him out of her life.
Off to sell his wares on cobblestone streets, children endlessly teased him, and called him a freak. There was no other way for him to make money in those hardscrabble days, but for him to join the London sideshow, and bring size to his name, "The Elephant Man."
When England banned the sideshow carnival, he traveled to Belgium, where a manager treated him rough, stole all his money and left him with only his frame. He managed somehow to find himself back in England at the Liverpool rail station. Suffering from bronchitis, and hardly able to speak, he stumbled and fell revealing his grotesque physique. Gazing through fog, onlookers horrified, shrieked, "EEEK!!!!"
With all of his remaining breath, fallen, and nearly trampled to death, he cried to the horrified, and said. "I'M NOT AN ANIMAL, I'M A HUMAN BEING!!"
Before it was over someone of mercy came to his side. If you were living then, perhaps it could have been you, or perhaps it could have been I? Mr. Merrick pulled out a card with a physician's name, "Frederick Treves." They located the kind doctor, who offered him a place to stay as a resident at the hospital, where he thrived!
The news had spread of him in this Victorian age, and before his life was over he was all the rage. He dined with magistrates and royalty, and was even entertained by the Queen.
During his last remaining days until his death at twenty-seven, he was still lonely and pined for a woman's affection. To this end there was no mutual companion. This face it seemed, after all was such, only a mother could love. It was her picture he kept near his head, until one morning the infamous Elephant man" was dead.
When I think of this true story I can only imagine: the shouts, the glory, which welcomed dear Joseph to heaven. No! Not up there, you will never hear, the lonely word, "EEEK!"
And just think of the scene: A Mr. Merrick redeemed, when he met the "King Jesus" face to face. Oh what a lovely view of our savior's grace!
"...For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (KJV) I Samuel 16:7b
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