An Odd But Inspiring Marriage Proposal

Adoniram Judson (August 9, 1788-April 12, 1850) was a missionary to Burma (Myanmar). On the day he received his commission to go overseas, he met and fell in love with Ann Hasseltine and soon wanted to propose marriage. The problem was that Judson was committed to foreign missions and the difficult life that entailed. Travel and communication were very limited and so Adoniram knew that if Ann went with him, she would likely never see her family again. Not wishing to hide any of the costs Judson wrote to Ann’s father:

“I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

Mr. Hasseltine, Ann’s father, knew that this question was a question his daughter had to answer and wisely let Ann make her own decision. She said yes and therefore so did her father.

I love the way Adoniram Judson laid this out because he didn’t soft pedal any of the challenges, but put them in context of the gospel (Jesus died for you) and the promises of heaven (“world of glory”).  

What about you? Does the gospel and the promise of heaven motivate you? Of course not every Christian is called to foreign missionary service nor will every Christian experience the challenges that the Judsons did. But every Christian is called daily to die to self and live for Jesus. Have you said yes?

To learn more about the amazing life and ministry of Adoniram Judson read To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson.

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