Can you imagine receiving this letter from a man who wants to marry your daughter?
I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall rebound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?
I can’t imagine.
Adoniram Judson and his wife Ann would be the first missionaries to leave America and sail to Burma on February 17th, 1812, after being married for 12 days. They spent all there living days serving the people of Burma and teaching them about the grace of Christ.
But first a daddy had to release his daughter. And thank God he did.
I heard it be said that family can be one of the biggest road blocks to missions work. And this letter makes me understand why.
I’ve always prayed that my children will understand the Christian call to be missionaries, whether at home or in another country. But after reading this letter I am reminded of what that truly means. And I am tempted now to pray for them to be called to the safe local kind of missions. But that would be my flesh talking.
Truth be told, no missions work is safe.
Lately I have been challenged in the way of evangelism and the great commission. God has not yet called my family to another land, but he most certainly has called us to be ministers of the Good News here. Right where I am now. It would seem like we are currently doing this job given the fact that my husband is a pastor and we serve the local church.
The truth is though, that I know I could be doing more. I know that I rely on the work of my husband. Yes I am training and raising little people and that job is indeed an important task. But where else am I reflecting the urgency of the gospel? Where am I relaxing a little too much? Where has the comforts of Canada made me forget the great commission?
God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy. ~ John Piper
The Judson’s knew very well the kind of hardships they would likely face. And yet they packed up and hopped on a boat. Fear didn’t hold them back and neither did their love for the contentment of America. The gospel sent them. The truth of the saving grace of Christ and the knowledge that hell awaits those who do not accept that grace, made them jump off that boat and trudge through truly uncharted territory.
They knew that joy comes through faithfulness, not a false sense of safety. They ignored the tidal wave of Satan-induced reasons why they shouldn’t go. Then they trudged boldly into impending suffering, because there hope was in heaven…not here.
My heart is pierced with conviction.
This is the call for all of us. We can get on a plane or we can walk down the street. We can start a Bible study group or we can invite a neighbor for dinner. But we can do something! And we have to do something! Because hell is real, but so is Jesus. And all Satan wants is the complacency of blessing that plagues the Western church to continue until we all destroy ourselves.
He wants us to be too busy, too scared, too self-involved, too tired and too entertained to care.
So if you want to light a fire under your butt for the work of Christ? Just read a missionary biography. Better yet, read the words of Christ.
“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ~Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20
What will we do with the precious time we have been given? What will I do? Will I allow Satan to stop me? Or will I trudge boldly into uncharted territories, knowing my hope is in Heaven?
Let’s do something.