Sunday, May 07, 2006

Adoniram Judson

"Suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered. If you are suffering without succeeding, it is so that others after you may succeed."

Some people don't know who this man is. Adoniram Judson was a man perfectly comfortable is his faithlessness. Well, until a life-changing night at an inn that he haphazardly fell upon during his travels. There was one room left, but the innkeeper forewarned the tired Judson of the implications of taking that room. Next door a man lie, in excruciating pain, dying, and a good night's sleep would be out of the question. Judson took the room anyway. In bed that night Judson listened to the "gasps of breath and grimacing cries" of his neighbor. The night "woke" Judson up. The next morning he found out his neighbor passed. He asked the innkeeper what his name was. Jacob Eames was his name. He would learn that this was the same Jacob Eames that was one of the most brash atheists in his class at Brown University. Judson went reeling for answers.

Within a year, his life was the Lord's. He heard a sermon named "The Star in the East", a message about the gospel's impact in India. Through this sermon and long meditation in Scripture, Judson realized he was being called to the Far East. Keep in mind, this was a time when there were no boards to send out people, no contacts to reach home, no game plans, and yet Judson was willing to take the challenge. A challenge is exactly what it would become.

Three of his children would die from disease. When war broke out between the British and the Burmese, Judson would be tagged as a British spy and for this he would pay a hefty price. He would be chained by the ankles to a bamboo pole that was lifted above his head at night, driven barefoot for miles through fiery sands that caused blistering of the skin, starved to emaciation, and tortured daily.

Somehow, God gave him strength--even during his 18 months of cruel confinement--to continue and finally complete his translation of the entire Bible in the Burmese language. And though his wife would died much too young from tropical illness, he dealt with his grief by returning to his work--leading more than 7,000 to Christ, establishing churches, and blazing the trail as the first American missionary on foreign soil.

That was Adoniram Judson. What's your story?

1 comment:

Sarah said...

That's one of my favorite stories. Have you heard the John Piper sermon on him? If not, let me know and I"ll email it to you!

Here's my email: