I’m currently caught up in a fascinating book called Lives of the Three Mrs. Judsons, which chronicles the lives and ministries of Adoniram Judson‘s three wives (who were his wives in succession, not the same time, of course… they each passed away in turn). Tonight I’m reading more of the story of his first wife Ann, who had the hard role of being the wife in the very start of his rough ministry to Burma. This book, which largely consists of many of her letters and journal entries, profoundly speaks to my heart as I have lived through and am living through so much that is like what they have experienced. It’s a very specific sort of life, and so touching when we find the rare occasion of having someone else understand it.
Well in tonight’s reading, Mrs. Judson had her first baby, a boy, who then died when he was eight months old. At that time they were totally alone on the field, and they struggled a lot to find daily joy. They had found much delight in their baby Roger.
In relating to their struggles, and rejoicing when they had a baby, it broke my heart to read of his passing (though I’ve heard their general story before, and know Mr. Judson eventually lost several children in his life). But more than anything, it touched my heart to read the words she wrote at the height of her grief, in a letter to her parents informing them of the loss. What a perfect perspective.
“But God has taught us by affliction what we would not learn by mercies — that our hearts are His exclusive property, and whatever rival intrudes, He will tear it away.”
What depth in such a time of raw emotion! What spiritual maturity!
Here are a couple other meaningful quotes from her in that time of trial and mourning:
“Our hearts were bound up in this child; we felt he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land. But God saw it was necessary to remind us of our error and strip us of our little all. Oh may it not be in vain that He has done it. May we so improve it that He will stay His hand and say, ‘It is enough.'”
When speaking of all the nights of joy their son brought them, she concludes,
“Yet this is denied us, this must be removed, to show us that we need no other source of enjoyment but God Himself.”
Her spiritual depth really leaves me speechless, so I’ll just leave it at that.