A Unique Love Letter

It is so simple, yet so many people miss it. It is right there, yet so many people ignore it or are preoccupied with other things—"good" things like church and family. Yes. Church and family, as good as they are, can keep you from seeing it—from getting it.

Some people just get it, though. It's easy to see when someone gets it and it encourages me not to become distracted with the insignificant things of this earth (as "good" as they might sound.)

I'd like to look at one man in particular who got it. I've come to learn a little more about him over the course of the past couple years and the way he planted himself in heaven and lived on earth encourages me to live likewise. His name is Adoniram Judson. Read this selection from a letter he wrote to Mr. Hasseltine (Ann Hasseltine's father) before seeking his daughter's hand in marriage:

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 to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a 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 a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

Talk about getting it. It brings tears to my eyes even now, though I have read it hundreds of times. Apparently his soon-to-be father-in-law got it too, because Miss Ann Hasseltine soon changed her name. Here is Adoniram's New Years letter to Miss Ann during their betrothal period:

January 1, 1811. Tuesday Morning
It is with the utmost sincerity, and with my whole heart, that I wish you, my love, a happy new year. May it be a year in which your walk will be close with God; your frame calm and serene; and the road that leads you to the Lamb marked with purer light. May it be a year in which you will have more largely the spirit of Christ, be raised above sublunary things, and be willing to be disposed of in this world just as God shall please. As every moment of the year will bring you nearer the end of your pilgrimage, may it bring you nearer to God, and find you more prepared to hail the messenger of death as a deliverer and a friend.

By the grace of God, Adoniram Judson got it. He realized that life was but a vapor that was seen for a moment and vanished the next. Life is like a log you see floating down the river—it's there for a moment and then it disappears. Three people got it in this story: Adoniram (for placing his trust in the Lord,) Mr. Hasseltine (for having the trust in the Lord to see the value of Adoniram's crazy faith,) and Miss Ann Hasseltine (for having such faith to see and be attracted to young Adoniram's correct view of eternity.)

I have loved this story for a while, and, as you might have guessed, his love letter to Miss Hasseltine was the inspiration for the name of this online journal: above sublunary things.

Adoniram was in love. Sure, he loved Ann Hasseltine, but there was a love that was far greater than any love he could have for a girl. He had an all-encompasing love for God. He was in love with God. He didn't need Miss Hasseltine to fulfill any desires in his life. He didn't need to be content in her or anything she could give him. No. He was already fully content in God. He was in love. He had the kind of love that matters—the kind of love that makes you do something about it. A man living, walking, and influencing others by faith is a beaufitul thing. Adoniram gave up everything, even his "love," Miss Ann, for the one he loved.