By Evan D. Burns
Adoniram Judson, after many years of pain and thankless labor, witnessed the death of the chief of the Karen people in Burma. Most deaths led to sadness because they died without the light of the gospel of Christ (since the Bible was still being translated). But this death was different than most; this Karen chief died in the Lord. After witnessing the old dying chief’s conversion and baptism, the mysterious providences that clouded Judson’s life and labors didn’t seem so inscrutable anymore. Judson rejoiced with the chief that God is indeed with us. Judson wrote:
The dying words of an aged man of God, when he raised his withered, death-struck arm, and exclaimed, “The best of all is, God is with us.” I feel in my very soul. Yes, the great Invisible is in these Karen wilds. That mighty Being, who heaped up these craggy rocks, and reared these stupendous mountains, and poured out these streams in all directions, and scattered immortal beings throughout these deserts—he is present by the influence of his Holy Spirit, and accompanies the sound of the Gospel with converting, sanctifying power. “The best of all is, God is with us.”
“In these deserts let me labor, On these mountains let me tell How he died—the blessed Saviour, To redeem a world from hell.”
Middleditch, Burmah’s Great, 294.
Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons. They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.