Cold October Rain (repost from 10/24/06)

Adoniram Judson, America’s first foreign missionary, had lost it all. In his efforts to reach the unreached Burmans with the gospel…, he had lost it all! His first child born dead and buried at sea; his second,  little Roger, didn’t even see his second birthday; his wife Ann and shortly afterward his daughter Maria… all parted from this world. He had received word from home that his father (also a minister) had passed on…  Adoniram lost it all.

Adoniram, had endured the Death Prison and Oung-pen la. He had labored long and hard to the glory of the King. It was seven years before he saw his first convert, Maung Nau. He had learned the Burmese language. He had labored long at a Burmese translation on the New Testament (more than ten years). While in prison the transcript had been lost, but thankfully later found. He had forsaken all to come to Burma. He had seen much pain, much toil, and much death. He was now weary in his journeys. He simply walked into the woods and disappeared for a whole year. A deep dark depression would linger a long three years in his mind.

On October 24, 1828, the second anniversary of his wife, Ann’s death, Adoniram wrote:

“It proves a stormy evening, and the desolation around me accords with the desolate state of my own mind, where grief for the dear departed combines with sorrow for present sin, and my tears flow at the same time over the forsaken grave of my dear love and the loathsome sepulchre of my own heart.”

…it was a cold October rain that beat down on the heart of Adoniram that night.

On October 24, 1829, the third anniversary of his wife, Ann’s death, Adoniram wrote Ann’s surviving sisters:

“Have either of you learned the art of real communion with God, and can you teach me the first principles? God is to me the Great Unknown. I believe in Him, but I find Him not.”

It would not be until mid-December of that same year, Adoniram learned that his brother, Elnathan, had died at the young age of thirty-five on May 8, 1829. His brother had never made a confession of Christ so far as Adoniram had known. Where is God in all of this? But now, the report would come, this sad state of soul in Elnathan had changed, and at his death, he suddenly raised up, clasped his hands, and with a countenance of joy, cried out, “Peace! Peace!”  Of this, Adoniram wrote his sister, Abigail, “When I read this account I went into my little room, and could only shed tears of joy….”

In tragedy God spoke to Adoniram about his tragedy. God is always there. He saved Elnathan’s soul, just as he had all the other dear ones in Adoniram’s life. God was there! When the cold October rain gets you down — know that God is there! I don’ have all the answers — but this I know, He is there!

2010 Update: Brandy’s Grandaddy died October 24, 2010. He was buried October 27th on a cold rainy October afternoon.  I repost this as a result of the contemplations of the day. Today is the 36th anniversary of my own mom’s untimely death when I was just six years old (the same age as my son).  The picture above is a picture of Ann Judson and my own wife, Brandy in one of those old-time portraits taken when we were first married.  Pretty cool!!!


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