7 Broken Men: David Brainerd

7 Broken Men: David Brainerd

In this series of posts we’ve been looking at “broken men” – fragile souls, charlatans, jerks and screw-ups who were used by God nonetheless to bring great hope and healing to the world. So far we’ve looked at men who were affected by overbearing fathers, childhood sexual assault, alcohol abuse, gambling addictions, drug use, and possible mental illness. And yet all of them were used by God to launch remarkable movements for his glory. In this entry we will look at the sweetest soul in our series, the frail and ardent young diarist, David Brainerd. There’s not much to Brainerd’s life. He died from tuberculosis on 9 October 1747, at the age of 29, having suffered from symptoms of the disease for close to a decade. The effects of the illness, coupled with an intensely introspective personality, as well as periods of great loneliness, resulted in sometimes immobilizing bouts of depression. There were dozens of occasions when he longed to die and be free of his suffering. Brainerd is most famous for his journal, a painfully honest and heartfelt account of his travails and his overwhelming desire to serve God and preach the gospel. And it’s this, the inner life of the earnest young man that would change history. In it he describes his brief tenure as a pastor to

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