By Evan D. Burns
While Judson was in prison for 21 months, Ann Judson cared for Adoniram Judson, and concurrently their daughter, little Maria, was ill. The gravity of this tribulation nearly pushed the Judson family to the breaking point. Recording the Judsons’ submission to the sovereignty of God, Ann wrote:
Our dear little Maria was the greatest sufferer at this time, my illness depriving her of her usual nourishment, and neither a nurse nor a drop of milk could be procured in the village. By making presents to the jailers, I obtained leave for Mr. Judson to come out of prison, and take the emaciated creature around the village, to beg a little nourishment from those mothers who had young children. Her cries in the night were heart-rending, when it was impossible to supply her wants. I now began to think the very afflictions of Job had come upon me. When in health, I could bear the various trials and vicissitudes through which I was called to pass. But to be confined with sickness, and unable to assist those who were so dear to me, when in distress, was almost too much for me to bear; and had it not been for the consolations of religion, and an assured conviction that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I must have sunk under my accumulated sufferings.
After being imprisoned under torture and horrid conditions for 21 months, Judson wrote to Dr. Bolles about his sufferings with the perspective that God works all things together for the good of his people.
[My sufferings], it would seem, have been unavailing to answer any valuable missionary purpose, unless so far as they may have been silently blessed to our spiritual improvement and capacity for future usefulness.
Wayland, Memoir, 1:361.
Middleditch, Burmah’s Great, 209.
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.