Friday, January 21, 2011

Men of Whom the World Was Not Worthy

John Piper has a series of biographical presentations on noteworthy Christians called "Men of Whom the World was Not Worthy"

Rosemary and I have been very blessed and encouraged listening to these presentations, and I would heartily recommend them.

You can find them here and here:

We were particularly touched by the story of Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma. He was the first American missionary to leave North America, and he served almost 40 years in Burma and left a significant mark on the nation.

At the same time, his life was marked by great difficulty.
He had 3 wives, who all died. Except for one son, all of his children died - most as infants, one as a toddler.

What he wrote about how he made it through such difficulty is powerful:
"If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings."

These were the words of Ann, his second wife, after her second child, the toddler, died:
"Our hearts were bound up with this child. We felt that he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land. But God saw it was necessary to remind us of our error and to strip us of our only little awe. Oh may it not be in vain that he has done it; may we so improve it that he may stay his hand and say, 'it is enough'."

I am impressed and encouraged by faith like that - faith that does not get angry at God in the face of difficulty, but trusts in His knowledge and love even when it doesn't have answers to the question of 'why?'.


  1. gotta say, although their trust of God is great, i wonder if their understanding isn't off. "may we so improve it that he may stay his hand and say, 'it is enough'." seems to imply that God was killing all their children because they had allowed them to mean too much? that's kinda screwed up. not trying to bash christian role models, but often those of that era have a strong tinge of legalism and/or a view of God as particularly harsh. maybe this was specifically the wife's view as adoniram seems not to express this thought?

  2. I agree with you. I don't totally agree with what she said theologically, but I do admire her trust in God. I think that when one goes through a tradgedy, it is not wrong to express their heart even if it is not totally correct theologically, e.g. David in the Psalms. But yea, agreed that this shouldn't be a normative view of trials.

  3. definitely their trust is admirable, even if held with a wrong view of God's heart in it. very job-esque i suppose. i just think when those people get put forward for their faith, we need to make sure we don't approve their doctrine in it, because ultimately trust has to be in the character of God. trust and stubbornness are not the same thing, though externally they might seem so.