...it is a wonderful thing to behold.
According to Websters Dictionary it's definition is the following:
2 a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>
b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>
The other night I was reading about an incredible man after finishing an incredible book in the Bible. Hebrews. Such a richly written book that is filled with amazing truths and encouragement for a believer. I plan on re-reading it again. One can never read God's word too much. True? Agreed.
One of the most popular sections of Hebrews is what a lot of people like to call the Hall of Faith. Chapter 11 is a source for many of Christ's children to look to for an example of how they should live their life..."as strangers and exiles on earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland...they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:13-16 respectively)
I, for one, find wondrous examples in chapter 11 of people who have lived before me, paid a mortal price, and yet received an imperishable prize of eternity with God. Even in the best of times while here, we yearn for our heavenly home. And if you don't yearn for it yet, pray for the Lord to strengthen your faith and...you will. Maybe this isn't known this about me yet, but I am drawn to martyrdom. Not exactly sure why the Lord's placed it on my heart, but I'm drawn to it. Can't read enough about those who have paid for their faith with their life.
Which brings me to this wonderful man. Adoniram Judson. To read about his life is to see Christ. He was 24 years old when he entered Burma and he began his 38 year mission there with his first wife Ann of 17 months.
Ann Judson, born Ann Hasseltine, married her husband knowing full well the life she was entering. She was marrying a missionary and so knew that she potentially was going to spend her life away from her family and possibly may never see them again. While in Burma, the British fleet bombarded the harbor near where the Judson's were living and so all westerners were viewed as spies. Judson was immediately imprisoned and Ann was pregnant with their first child. She would walk two miles every day to the emperor to plead for her husband. She eventually was able to care for her husband. She had her child by that point. What happens next is heartbreaking, "Their daughter, Maria, had been born by now, and Ann was almost as sick and thin and Adoniram, but she still pursued him, with her baby, to take care of him as she could. Her milk dried up, and the jailer had mercy on them and actually let Judson take the baby each evening into the village fettered and beg women to nurse his baby." (Filling up the Afflictions of Christ Pg.99)
I just can't imagine it. Ten feet from where I am typing, my lovely daughter Leah is sleeping. I just finished nursing her and now she is lying in her nice bed, with a full tummy, sleeping.
Adoniram lost his dear wife Ann due to sickness in 1826 and six months later he lost their daughter. Judson was heartbroken and went into isolation for sometime. God was not done with him yet and in 1834 he finished translating the Old Testament into the Burmese language. What a victory for God! In the vary same year he remarried a woman by the name of Sarah. They had eight children together, however he lost her in death in the year of 1845. After her untimely death, Judson made sure his children were safe with his sister back in New England and then planned to returned to Burma. Before his return, he remarried for a third time. After a short time in Burma, Judson became ill. His only hope was to get onto a ship and sail for the Isle De France.
"At 4:15 on Friday afternoon, April 12, 1850, Adoniram Judson died at sea, away from all his family and the Burmese church." (Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ Pg. 106)
"The Burmese bible was done. The dictionary was done. Hundreds of converts were leading the church. And today there are about 3,700 congregations of Baptists in Myanmar who trace their origin to this man's labors of love." (Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ Pg. 106)
This is where the perspective comes in.
This life is not about us. It is about Him. Christ. It is easy to get lost in our day to day, comfortable, pleasurable, mundane lives. We get irritated when things don't go our way, when times become difficult, and when others wrong us. We want to live the way we want to and add in Jesus when we have time. It ought not to be so! Shameful.
I am convicted by this man. His life convicts my heart, my actions, and my motives. He points me to Christ and to what Christ calls me to do. Live for Him. It was no coincidence that I finished reading Hebrews and then read about this fine gentleman. The Lord orchestrates everything to bring Him glory. And I praise Him for it.
(There is so much more to the story of Adoniram Judson. I urge you to read the whole account of his life on your own. I have highly abbreviated it in this post. Either look him up on the internet or buy the book that I have. You can find it HERE. The PDF version is FREE! You won't regret it and his story will change you.)
Later on in Hebrews 11, Paul starts to list what happened to those whom wouldn't deny our Lord. "Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." (Hebrews 11:35-38)
It keeps running through my mind, "of whom the world was not worthy". Why? The world is not worthy of the blood of martyrs for one reason. Christ. The world hated, rejected, and killed our Savior. The world wasn't and isn't worthy of him. Martyrs die for one reason. Christ. They consider this momentary life to be nothing, and Christ as everything. Martyrs lived these verses:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3:7-11
Judson's last words were, "How few there are who...who die so hard!"
Let us pick up where Judson left off, with a new perspective. One that is Christ centered. Let us pray, witness, and care for the lost in our homes, families, cities, country, and world.
Let us live in such a way that our lives will bear much fruit for years upon years after our death.