In Part 1, you read some background material about the Karen tribe of Myanmar, more commonly known as Burma. There is a high percentage of professing Christians in a country that persecutes both the ethnic Karen and Christians. In effect, being a Karen Christian is being a double target. Part 2 relayed the fantastic tale of how this came to be.
And yet, if one young man had kept going his own way, this would have never occurred. This story is interesting not only because of the dedication of Adonirim and Ann Judson, but because of the miraculous manner in which God had prepared beforehand for the Bible to make its way into the hand of the Karen. In fact, the Karen were expecting a book from God from their white brother!
And, still there had to be a miracle previous to this, or it would have never happened! So, sit back for the rest of the story.
The 2nd Miracle
However, I told you there were 2 miracles. Now, I’m going to tell you the rest of the story.
There once was a young man who was quite intelligent and ambitious. He learned how to read when he was only 3 years old. He grew up in a Congregationalist home, but the young man soon realized that his ambitions were greater than his desire to serve God. French agnosticism was sweeping the country at the time he was in Providence College. He kept company with a young man one year ahead of him. In some accounts, the man’s name was Ernest, some it was simply “E______” and some have it as Eames. I could find no reason for these discrepancies, but I suspect it was because notes in those days were usually in longhand, and it could just be that it is indecipherable. Anyhow, Ernest was openly atheistic and was quite willing to take anyone on in a debate. This attitude suited the younger man just fine, as he now felt free to pursue his ambitions.
Both graduated and lost track of each other. The young man tried a theatrical company, but that led instead to his ruin. Eventually, he parted company with them and eventually stopped at an inn. The innkeeper apologized that he only had one room left. Next to that room was a dying man. The young man brashly said, “I’ll take the room. Death has no terrors for me. You see, I’m an atheist.”
The young man couldn’t sleep that night. The coughs and the wheezing were keeping him awake. Then, there were the groans of agony and despair. The young man couldn’t help but think, “The poor fellow is evidently dying in terror. I suppose I should go to his assistance, but what could I say that would help him?” He was surprised by his thoughts.
What would his friends think? What would Ernest think if he knew he was being so weak? Yet, the sounds from the next room still kept him awake. Late into the night, it quieted down.
Finally, morning came. With no sleep, he went to the innkeeper to pay and leave. He inquired of the man next door. “He is dead,“ replied the innkeeper.
“Dead? And do you know who he was?”
The innkeeper answered, “Yes. He was a graduate of Providence College, a young fellow named Ernest.”
The words kept ringing in the young man’s mind. Overwhelmed, the young man knew what he had to do. He headed home to apologize to his parents. He would ask his parents to teach him how to have great faith, a faith that would even withstand death. I’m sure it was no problem for his father, a Congregational minister named Adoniram Judson, Sr – the father of the first successful missionary to Burma. The younger Adoniram Judson put his full self into his newfound faith until he decided to become a missionary to India. “And now you know the rest of the story.”
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
~ Ro 8:28
Can God use evil to do good? Can God use the fruit of the wrong tree to work out His purpose? Does God work in mysterious ways? Out of these events, God called a few into His Church. Some had to endure a hard life in a refugee camp before going to the US, Denmark and other countries. Some are still in Myanmar trying to live under one of the most brutal regimes in existence today.
I want to conclude by asking you to examine yourself. “Knowledge puffeth up”, Paul wrote (1Co 8:1). Mr Armstrong kept the Holy Days for 7 years without understanding why God commanded them. Some people are plain just not called right now. Yet, God uses all sorts of people to do His will. He uses pagan kings like King Nebuchadnezzar and King Cyrus. He uses wise men from the east. Even Jesus said He did not know the hour or the day of His return. Let us not use our knowledge as a club. Rather, let us speak the truth at all times in love.
- Burma. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myanmar.
- People’s Republic of China. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Republic_of_China#Demographics.
- Laos. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos.
- Thailand. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thailand.
- Bangladesh. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh.
- India. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India.
- Karen – Religion and Expressive Culture. (n.d.) In World Culture Encyclopædia. Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://www.everyculture.com/East-Southeast-Asia/Karen-Religion-and-Expressive-Culture.html.
- Adoniram Judson. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoniram_Judson.
- Harrison, Eugene Myers. (1954). Giants of the Missionary Trail: Adoniram Judson Apostle of the Love of Christ in Burma. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/.
- Barlow, Fred. (1976). Adoniram Judson: Father of Baptist Missionaries. Retrieved from http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/bjudson1.html.