But, among these great men of God, who was David Brainerd? I spent many hours yesterday in the internet digging through his short biographies. I ended up reflecting emotionally (and teary-eyed, too) because for me he was, perhaps, the greatest missionary of all times.
I am going to share a "very short" synopsis about his life story (actually in a summarized and non-formal form). Here it is:
• Missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. He was born to a rich and very prominent family in Connecticut in 1718 and died of tuberculosis in 1747 at the age of twenty-nine. John Edwards edited and published his diary.
• He was from his youth frail and sickly, even melancholic throughout his life, and was struggling against tendencies of depression, but these did not deter him from serving God to the fullest.
• His missionary work to the American Indians was not comfortable like the home he was used to because he was living as a poor man in a very hostile, indifferent and poor community with them.
• He thought of himself as incompetent and inadequate for his job, but his devotion and love to the Indians far outweighed his feelings. In his diary, he wrote: “My soul seemed to rely wholly upon God for success, in the diligent and faithful use of means. Saw, with greatest certainty, that the arm of the Lord must be revealed for the help of these poor heathen, if ever they be delivered from the bondage of the power of darkness.”
• Furthermore, he said, “It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God. God himself could not make him happy any other way... There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God’s work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him, and doing his whole will.”
• Jonathan Edwards wrote of him as “having put his hand to the plow, he looked not back, and gave himself, heart, soul, and mind, and strength, to his chosen mission with unfaltering purpose, with apostolic zeal, with a heroic faith that feared no danger and surmounted every obstacle, and with an earnestness of mind that wrought wonders of savage lives and whole communities.”
• David Brainerd relied solely on God for his work. He never gave up his faith and the ministry that God entrusted him. He prayed simply that the power of the Holy Ghost might come upon him so greatly that the Indians would not be able to refuse the gospel message. Through constant prayers, God worked for Him that in three-year time, He gave him great success in the ministry. Many American Indians were saved!
• He also prayed for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ around the world and especially in America. After his death, his journal and diary inspired countless of missionaries over the years to reach millions of souls around the world for Christ. William Carey (Father of Modern Mission) was among them who read his diary and went to India.
• John Piper wrote of him: “Brainerd’s life is a vivid, powerful testimony to the truth that God can and does use sick, discouraged, beat-down, lonely, struggling saints, who cry to him day and night, to accomplish amazing things for his glory.”
Friends, try reading more of David Brainerd’s story because he sure was a very true man of God. I hope, too, that you will be encouraged to do more for God in His service. You surely see that God can work mysteriously for your life and mine. Who knows He will call you for His service one day soon. Are you ready? Mike and I are.
Reference: David Brainerd: Missionary by Fred Barlow, Missionary Biographies, Worldwide Missions
(c) July 2009, Luisa Mercado