Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Sustaining Faith

Most of us in ministry fight with bouts of discouragement and depression now and again. Ministry never has been and never will be easy. Yet, in the midst of the worst that life can throw our way, there is always a deep reservoir of hope and life. When I am tempted to throw in the towel, men like Adoniram Judson encourage me, and put steel in my backbone. Here is an excerpt from a sermon I preached last year. Actually, this is about his first wife, Anne. It was a blessing to me. I hope it will be to you also.

Adoniram Judson was a missionary who served in Burma. He was arrested and falsely accused of being an enemy agent. Imprisoned in a tiny cell, hew was forced to stand so others could lie down and sleep. The heat was unbearable; no one was allowed to bathe, so the stench was unreal. One day the officials decided to hoist Judson into the air by his thumbs- pain filled every fiber of his body. When he returned to his cell, his precious wife, Anne would creep into after dark and whisper to him, “Hang on, Adoniram, God will give us the victory. Week after week, Anne would come by every night to encourage him with the same words. “Hang on, Adoniram, God will give us the victory.” One night she didn’t come, then another and another, weeks passed and Adoniram’s loneliness was unbearable. No one told him she was dying.

Months later, he was released. A man so broken it was a miracle he could walk. He began to search for his beloved wife. He went to the place where they used to live. He saw a child sitting in the dirt, a little girl so covered with filth that he failed to recognize her as his own daughter. As he staggered into the tent, he saw Anne. She was only a bundle of bones and rags on a cot, so weak and frail she looked like a skeleton. Her beautiful hair had fallen out and her bright blue eyes stared blankly out at nothing. Hugging his daughter to his chest, he knelt down and wept, “Anne, Anne, O my darling Anne.” His hot tears fell on her face and slowly her eyes began to move with recognition. She struggled to speak and her last words were, “Hang on, Adoniram, God will give us the victory.”

He lost his sweetheart, but not his faith, his loved one, but not his courage. He began to preach again, and when he died he left behind scores of churches and hundreds of Christian converts. In the midst of the worse life could throw his way, he never lost his faith, Anne never lost sight of the fact that God is the King! He is in control. He will be victorious. O Worship the King!

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