It’s worth it
Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023
My journey to obtain my Master’s Degree in Theology is, as my brother-in-law says, in the short rows. It is all but completed; I walk in eight weeks. There is a great sense of accomplishment inside my heart as the road has been tough and filled with stress and pressure but it has been worth it.
Baptist Heritage is the course I am currently taking. This class is focused on the beginning and development of the Baptist Denomination. One of the books required to be read in this class is a biography of Adoniram Judson. Adoniram’s story is one of both great devotion and extraordinary sacrifice.
When a prestigious offer in the states that would have opened the door to a promising career presented itself to Adoniram, he rejected it. He could not accept such an offer as his heart was being led in a different direction. What appeared to be idyllic to many, including his parents, was a path going against where Adoniram felt God was calling him. Adoniram was going to be a missionary in Burma and nothing could change his mind.
The life of a missionary is not easy today and it was even more challenging during Adoniram’s days. Travel was long and arduous, resources were not as plentiful for missionaries, and it took time to learn the language of the people. None of these things deterred Adoniram from pursuing a missionary’s life. With a focused vision, he continued to move forward toward his calling, until finally he and his wife were standing on the deck of a ship watching his homeland fade in the distance. They were young, full of life and energy but what lay before them would test their resilience.
What Adoniram and Mrs. Judson endured during their years of service was astounding. They dealt with the weather, sickness, and even the death of their three children. Nancy, Adoniram’s wife, became ill to the point she had to depart Burma and spend about two years back in America recovering. Adoniram stayed in Burma during this time. After war broke out between Burma and England, Adoniram was taken into custody by the local government and placed in prison. For about nineteen months Adoniram experienced hunger, filthy conditions, physical abuse, and suffering. Eventually, Nancy would die. Adoniram would remarry but only to also lose his second wife. What heartbreak!
After traveling back to the states to recover from an illness, Adoniram would marry a third time. With his wife, Emily, he began the journey back to Burma. This would be the last time Adoniram would see his homeland. After serving for some time together in Burma, Adoniram became sick and needed to leave the land. With Emily left behind, he boarded a ship for a sea voyage that doctors felt would help him overcome his illness. That would be the last time Emily would see him. Adoniram died on that ship and was buried at sea.
This missionaries life was one of great sacrifice but those sacrifices were not in vain. The struggles, I am sure Adoniram would say, were worth it. Adoniram saw converts to Christianity, he translated the Bible into Burmese and worked on a Burmese-English dictionary (he only competed half of it). His life serves as a testimony to all who follow of following God’s purpose for life, making sacrifices, and keeping the hand on the plow amidst difficulties.
Serving Christ is not always an easy task. Even Paul says to endure hardship as a good soldier (2 Timothy 2:3). Like Adoniram, disciples are to have a resoluteness of heart to stick with it and carry on. There are times when the road is hard and long. We must put our hand to the plow, not look back and continue to pursue what God has put in our hearts. Yes, there will be challenging times, hardships and sacrifices. But those sacrifices will be worth it as impact will be made and people’s lives will be touched. This is our moment and we must seize it. Now is the time to stand up, move forward and make a difference.