God uses broken people. This is no more apparent than in the life of David Livingstone. Jay Milbrandt makes this point in The Daring Heart of David Livingstone. This volume captures in three sections, the Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of the man who would leave the comforts of home to insert himself into the interior of Africa for the glory of God. This is more than a story of heroism, far from it. This is a story of a man who knew what God had called him to do and fiercely pursued that dream, though stumbled over himself at various points.
David Livingstone was born at Blantyre, south of Glasgow on March 19, 1813. In 1836 his studies led him towards a curriculum consisting of medicine and theology which influenced his decision to become a missionary doctor. He became convinced of the evils of slavery and determined to exploring Africa while at the same time uncovering the mystery of Christ for their benefit. He would spend much of his life trekking through Africa in search of varying routes up the coast.
In 1862 his wife passed away from malaria, delivering a devastating blow, not only to David, but to the whole of England. The many trips and travels of Livingstone were publicized throughout the whole of Europe and would help aid in his further discovering on the continent of Africa. While at home Livingstone would speak of the horrific nature of the slave trade he had experienced first hand which would in turn garner support from private sources.
Overall this book was very helpful in revealing some personal background information pertaining to the private life of Livingstone but it also revealed a huge glimpse of emotion and turmoil inside this man. He was torn in so man different ways and became a shining light and harbinger of life to Africa. I often think of stories like this that have not been shared and where we would be without men and women who have literally spent their lives on the missionary field for God’s glory. We have certainly built a foundation on the backs of men like David Livingstone and should be appreciative of the pioneering work he did.
Jay Milbrandt is a professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a Senior Fellow in Global Justice with the Nootbaar Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law where he formerly directed the Global Justice Program. He travels throughout the world as a human rights lawyer, manages global initiatives in Africa and Southeast Asia, and consults with organizations engaged in human rights and legal development efforts. JayMilbrandt.com