In the spring of 1747, a young missionary showed up at the Edwards family home. He was quite ill, and seventeen-year-old Jerusha took up the task of caring for him. For nineteen weeks, she cared for this young man. In October of 1747, he died of tuberculosis, which he had previously contracted while proclaiming Jesus’ love to the Native Americans of New England. Due to her care, the young missionary was able to complete his diary and leave it with Jerusha’s father for publication. That diary has never been out of print in over 250 years. The young missionary was David Brainerd, whose diary has inspired many Christians over the last two centuries.
I wonder how often David Brainerd, as he lay in bed during the final weeks of his life, was tempted to think his life was a waste. He was prevented from completing his education at Yale. He never became an ordained minister. He had only four years of ministry, and even that was of questionable value in the eyes of others. Nevertheless, it is David Brainerd who is now remembered more than the famous instructors of Yale who made the decision to expel him. Brainerd is remembered for his diary and the experiences he wrote in it more than the sermons he preached to the Native Americans.
It might be that thing we do in secret, that sacrifice we make when we don’t think anyone notices, which becomes the real reason for our life.