Hard Heart, Broken Heart

Adoniram Judson was one of America's first foreign missionaries.  In 1812, at the age of 22, he left America for India, (eventually ending up in Burma), burning in his heart to obey his Master's command to make disciples of all the nations (Mt 28:20).  For a wonderful and riveting summary and application of his life, listen John Piper's biological sermon for the 2003 Pastor's Conference here. This quote is from before his conversion.  I'm drawn to it for two reasons: (1) I fear that one of my [future] children will deny the Lord, and (2) it shows again that the Lord is powerful and mighty to save.

His father — unyielding, unperceptive to the nuances of feelings in others — finally goaded him too far.  Why, asked the Reverend Mr. Judson, did not Adoniram study to become a minister, if he had found that teaching was not to his taste?

A minister?  All at once Adoniram's resentment boiled over.  Furiously, he flung out the truth.  His father and mother froze with horror as Adoniram's words struck their startled ears.

The God of the Third Church of Plymouth [his home church] was not his God, Adoniram told them.  He could not believe that the Bible was anything but the work of men — any more than were the Koran or the sacred writings of Buddha — great as its principles might be.  Even Jesus ... He was certainly the son of man, but almost as certainly not the Son of God except in the sense that all men are.

Mr. Judson was outraged.  What had got into the boy?  He had felt sure that at Brown, of all places, no harm would be done to his son's soul.  Certainly these pernicious vaporizings did not come from any of the faculty.  They must have been picked up from some fellow student infected with the noisome Jacobinism blowing over from France these years.  If so, a few solid arguments should set the boy right.

Swallowing his anger, Mr. Judson set himself to reason with Adoniram.  Very shortly he realized with dismay that every argument he advanced was being met by two better ones.  Not for nothing had Adoniram been valedictorian of his class. Exposing the fallacies in his father's syllogisms was child's play.  Point by point, with crushing finality, he demolished every thesis his father set out to prove.  By nightfall, Adoniram was completely master of the field.  So far as logic and evidence went, Mr. Judson had to concede that Adoniram had everything in his favor.  Mr. Judson was beaten.  He still knew he was right, but he could not prove it.  He lapsed into a grim, impotent silence.

Adoniram might have gone to bed flushed with triumph had his mother not possessed other, more deadly, weapons: tears, prayers, and expostulations.  Weeping, she pursued him from room to room.  How could he do this to his mother?  If he loved her, how could he consent to fry in hell for eternity, while his mother and father enjoyed heaven ?  How could she enjoy  heaven knowing her son was in hell?  She used no logic. She simply assumed that, through some perverseness of his own, her beloved Adoniram chose the devil against God, hell against heaven, and wounding her feelings against making her happy.

When, finally, she saw that Adoniram withstood her, she turned to prayers.  Wherever he turned, he saw her bowed in prayer and heard her lifting her voice brokenly, sobbing, pleading with God to change the heart of her wayward son and save him from damnation.

Anderson, Courtney. To the Golden Shore.  Copyright by Courtney Anderson, 1987.  Published by Judson Press, 1987.  pg. 38-39