Part One: A Review of Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret
Hello hard-workin readers! Thank-you for taking the time to see what I’ve written this time. Indeed, this is the first time that I’ve put in so much time and effort into a blog post! I enjoyed every minute of it, though. The result is a ‘book review’ that’s over 2,000 words long! But don’t worry, I won’t throw it all at ya at one time; I’ve divided up this essay into two parts. You’re reading Part One, and on Friday you can read Part Two. Thanks again, and enjoy the ride!
There’s this word. Sometimes I use it because I’m too lazy to search my brain for a more fitting adjective to the situation. I use it like my favorite new sweater, not caring that eventually it will get stretched or bally, and it won’t be proper to wear out anymore. I foolishly wear it to work and at home, and with every wash it ages sooner than I’d like to replace it. But then the right occasion comes, such as a night out on the town with my brother and I am forced to pull out my ultra-best sweater. And the cycle repeats itself.
Anyways, that’s how it is with the word amazing. I use it every day, describing my coworker’s cooking or a verse I read in my alone time. Adjectives have a lot longer wear life than sweaters, granted, but I know I could do a lot better in finding more fitting describing words in the everyday, ordinary life. I can tell my coworker she’s amazing for seeing something ahead in the day and preparing for it, while I had obliviously gone about my tasks. Just as easily, I can tell you my cat’s fur is amazing. You’d nod and agree, but inwardly I know you’re thinking, What a weirdo…I’m sure it’s not THAT soft. But then situations come up that just blow your mind, like a surprise party, or (AN AMAZING SNAIL MAIL PACKAGE! Thanks, cuz-sis ;)) an epic volleyball game. And the word amazing just feels too much like a tight fit. It doesn’t feel good enough.
Now that we’ve passed the appetizer, let’s prepare for the main course. Thanks for reading that rant. Here we get down to the real reason for this post.
Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret is a book that has deeply blessed my life. I’ve only finished reading it a few days ago, and I wish to be back in the middle of it once more. I recognized a bit of Hudson Taylor’s spiritual zeal in his younger days to what I had a few years ago, and the ending of his life left me nostalgic. The faithfulness demonstrated in the duration of his life is inspiring. And amazing 😉
“Next to godly parentage, the chief advantage of his early years was that he had to support himself from the time he was about sixteen. He became a hard worker and an efficient medical man; he was able to care for a baby, cook a dinner, keep accounts, and comfort the sick and sorrowing, no less than to originate great enterprises and afford spiritual leadership to thoughtful men and women the wide world over…
Inland China opened to the Gospel largely as an outcome of this life, tens of thousands of souls won to Christ in previously unreached provinces, twelve hundred missionaries depending upon God for the supply of all their needs without promise of salary, a mission which has never made an appeal for financial help, yet has never been in debt, that never asks man or woman to join its ranks, yet has sent to China recently two hundred new workers given in answer to prayer – such is the challenge that calls us to emulate Hudson Taylor’s faith and devotion.”
Guys, Hudson Taylor was amazing. Not only him, though — it was because of his mother’s prayers that his life with the Lord was begun. On a Saturday afternoon away from home, she felt especially burdened about her only son. Removing herself from her friends, she prayed alone for hours until peace was received. Assured of an answer to her prayer, she returned home to find a changed young man. Hudson was eager to tell his mother of the change, but before he could begin, she said, “I know, my boy, I know. I have been rejoicing for a fortnight in the glad news you have to tell.” A month earlier his sister had also committed herself to pray daily for Hudson until he was converted.
This challenged me, and it was the first lesson I learned from this book. Prayer changes things. It is a theme that is consistent throughout the entire book. Hudson never doubted his God to fulfill the promises He made long ago. With full confidence in His complete provision, Hudson Taylor prayed courageously, often spending two hours each morning with the One who delights to answer even before we cry.
The second thing I took away is something very real and applicable to me right now. Trust God. Often Hudson found himself in a situation where he did not know the way forward. Like the time when he expressed his deep love for Miss Maria Dyer, and her guardian flatly refused to have anything to do with the young missionary who would willingly put on Chinese dress instead of his native garments of a foreigner. Their love denied, the young people were left only to lay it in the hands of the Lord. Both kept praying, and both hearts were in great pain. And the hands of the Lord were not slow to move. Through an atrocious rainstorm and a delay at the hospital, Hudson and Maria were finally in the same room with each other. In a most relieving conversation, he was granted permission to write her uncle in London. Words were not enough for Maria to make him understand that he was a most accepted and dear friend. Four months later, and a week past her 21st birthday, Hudson and Maria were happily married.
I could tell you other stories of times when his faith was sorely tried, only that one was my favorite. But it was in one particular time of great Chinese political upheaval that
“Hudson Taylor was learning to think of God as The One Great Circumstance of Life, and of all lesser, external circumstances as necessarily the kindest, wisest, best because either ordered or permitted by Him.”
The kindest, wisest, best. When I think of that, my heart recoils to accepting that the surroundings I find myself in are really the best thing that could be for me. It is so hard to believe that in the days when I am rejected, mistreated, and unpaid. But lest I cease to accept Him as Lord, my heart must stretch itself around this truth and choose to believe it.
Hudson Taylor demonstrated with his life the value of every soul. Willingly, he gave up his personal comfort to preach in the river towns, the slums, and the marketplaces. He fearlessly went to battle with evil forces in order to gain a victory for the Kingdom. He was vital in training dedicated young missionaries, teaching and demonstrating godly disciplines and character. Here is what one young man wrote after hearing Mr. Taylor pray for the first time:
“I had never heard anyone pray like that. There was a simplicity, a tenderness, a boldness, a phower that hushed and subdued me, and made it clear that God had admitted him to the inner circle of His friendship. Such praying was evidently the outcome of long tarrying in the secret place, and was as dew from the Lord.”