Meet Phillip Keller

Perhaps best known for his bestseller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller (1920-1997) spent his life traveling the globe, marveling at Godís creation, and writing over thirty-five books on Christian subjects. Whether he was working as a wildlife photographer, tending livestock on his ranch, writing books, raking leaves, or washing dishes, his life seemed to radiate the joy of the Lord. But in Kellerís spiritual autobiography (written at the age of 70), he explained that this abundant joy was not something he was born withóit was something he learned over a lifetime with Christ, his dearest friend and savior.

Born in Kenya to missionary parents, Keller spent the early years of his childhood heartily enjoying what he calls "the rather rough, tough frontier world of East Africa." Then, at the age of 8, he was abruptly sent away to a strict, religious boarding schooló250 miles away from his family. During those lonely and difficult school years, he heard (as part of a daily creed) that manís chief end was "to know and enjoy God, to please him and obey him forever." But that was small comfort to Phillip, who felt he didnít know God at all.

There were three people in Kellerís world who did seem to know Godónot just as a religious concept, but as a real, living, life-changing friend. The first was Kellerís father, a man he describes as "full of good cheer and delightful humor." The second was Miss Perrot, the headmistress at Kellerís boarding school. "Despite her deformed body," he writes, " misshapen by illness; despite her blotched complexion, ruined by the tropics; . . . she moved amongst us as an angel of mercy. . . . She was a magnificent lady of shining faith in God." The third was Achulia, the head gardener on his parentsí estate. A native Kenyan, Achulia was "a man at peace with himself and others (and) . . . profoundly at peace with God." From Achulia, Phillip "learned much about husbanding trees and shrubs and plants and grass. But much more important, I saw in him a man who knew God and reveled in the company of Christ. And that is what I yearned for deeply in my soul."

Phillip eventually found the divine companionship he was looking foróbut it didnít happen right away. When his father died, Phillip (still a teenager) was devastated. As he grew older, he withdrew far into himself. As an adult, he left Africa and wandered far from the God his father and mother had served. The inspiring, joyful story of how he returned is woven into his many beloved autobiographical and devotional books, including Thank You, Father; Wonder Oí the Wind; and God Is My Delight.

A Canadian citizen, Phillip settled in British Columbia, where he and his beloved wife, Ursula, faithfully served God until Phillip went to be with the Lord in 1997.

(Quotes are excerpted from Kellerís spiritual autobiography, God Is My Delight.)

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