Monday, August 17, 2009

William Carey: Laid Low to Look More Simply to Christ

Today is the 284th birthday of the father of modern missions. (HT: David Reimer)

John Piper wrote several years ago:
For his first two years in India William Carey got no mail. During his first seven years he got no converts. The British Indian press said “papists” had arrived instead of “Baptists.” After nineteen years of labor a fire destroyed his precious manuscripts of a polyglot dictionary, a Sikh and Telugu grammar and ten versions of the Bible. He had an accident and was lame to the end. He lost two wives in death. And he never went home—for 41 years.

What kept him going? Incredible faith in the sovereign goodness of God.

When I left England, my hope of India's conversion was very strong; but amongst so many obstacles, it would die, unless upheld by God. Well, I have God, and His Word is true. Though the superstitions of the heathen were a thousand times stronger than they are, the example of the Europeans a thousand times worse; though I were deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith, fixed on that sure Word, would rise about all obstacles and overcome every trial. God's cause will triumph.

When he saw the smoldering fire that destroyed his work, tears filled his eyes and he said,

In one short evening the labours of years are consumed. How unsearchable are the ways of God! . . . The Lord has laid me low that I may look more simply to him.