Christian Author Behind Top Devotional Series Dies at 77

Sarah Young, the author of the Christian devotional book “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence,” passed away Friday — less than a week after various reports highlighted her “rapidly” declining health.

Young was 77 years old.

“We received the hard news that Sarah’s health is rapidly failing,” Thomas Nelson Publishers announced on social media last week. “We know that Sarah really believes in the power of prayer and prays for her readers every morning. Now, we have the precious privilege to lift up Sarah and her family. Please join us in prayer.”

Her cause of death is not totally clear at this point, but Young previously explained her illnesses in a 2015 interview, saying at the time: “I have struggled with extremely challenging health issues for 12 years. I’ve been diagnosed with two co-infections of Lyme disease, and I’ve had quite a bit of treatment for those. In October 2008, the day after I finished writing Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life I had a severe attack of vertigo. Since that time, I’ve had a milder, chronic form of dizziness that has never gone away. I continue to be weak and to struggle with various symptoms.”

“I hope that my health will continue to improve, but I know there are no guarantees in this life,” she added. “I also know that God has used my hardest times for good.”

Young was best known for her devotional, “Jesus Calling,” which was published by Thomas Nelson in 2004. The daily devotional book presents itself as if Jesus is speaking directly with the reader and offers encouraging words to those who may need them.

Young wrote the basis for “Jesus Calling” in her personal prayer journals while she and her husband Stephen were living as missionaries in Japan and Western Australia.

Have you read “Jesus Calling”?

The two met at Covenant Theological Seminary, where Young earned her master’s degree in biblical studies and counseling, according to The Christian Post.

She has written many other books besides “Jesus Calling,” including “Jesus Always” and “Jesus Listens,” as well as various other storybooks and children’s devotionals.

Together, they’ve sold over 45 million units worldwide in over 30 languages.

“It has been a joy and an honor to have Sarah Young as part of our publishing family,” Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, said in a statement announcing Young’s death.

“Sarah was a remarkable woman who deeply loved God. Her words have resonated with people from all walks of life, and the global impact of her work is unparalleled.”

Laura Minchew, the Senior Vice President and Group Publisher of the Children’s and Gift Book Group at HarperCollins, also added a tribute to Young, who she said was “a dear friend who will be deeply missed.”

“Through nearly 20 years of publishing with Sarah, I had a firsthand seat at seeing millions of lives changed through the Jesus Calling books. Her books have met people in their darkest hours, taught children about Jesus, and changed lives for eternity. Knowing Sarah professionally and personally has been the privilege of a lifetime,” Minchew said.

Michael Aulisio, the Vice President and Publisher of the Jesus Calling brand at Thomas Nelson, noted that it was “never about sales for Sarah.”

“Sarah cared solely about leading the reader into deeper, richer relationships with God. It is impossible to measure the effect her words have had,” he said.

A memorial service will be held Sept. 9 at Christ Presbyterian Church in Young’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, The Christian Post reported.

Along with her husband, she is survived by two children and six grandchildren.

By Carson Choate September 3, 2023 at 4:42pm