Part Two: The Life of Hudson Taylor
After only a six years’ beginning in China, Hudson and Maria were sent home to London to allow for his recovery from a serious illness. For five years they were hidden in the backstreets of London, so very far away from the country and work they loved. These were not wasted years, by no means. Time would prove the lessons they learned during those years – lessons of deeper dependence on God which led them deeper into the rich fullness of His riches. Hudson under took the translation of the New Testament into Chinese, averaging about nine hours a day in the work. These ‘hidden years’ were vital for the enthusiasm of their youth to mature into strong leadership. Hudson also began publishing China’s Spiritual Need and Claims, which drew many people into the knowledge and sympathy of his work.
Returning with fourteen young men and women deeply committed to God and to China, Hudson Taylor and his family began their evangelism work again. This time Hudson was called to inland China, not just the large port cities where he had begun. The work grew and grew, until they were able to send out missionaries, two by two, further into China.
Even through the sorrow of losing his eight-year-old daughter to sickness, and three years later, the wife of his youth, Hudson Taylor never lost his spiritual energy and zeal for the work. Even being a paralyzed invalid, back in London again, could not dim his lamp. How he prayed and wrote and rejoiced in the Lord is hardly conceivable for us to think about. The workers he prayed for began to arrive and begin a study of the Chinese language at his bedside. My heart swells to think of learning a foreign language from one who so loved its country!
Through many prayers of his friends and comrades, God did raise up Mr. Taylor from his bed and enabled him to return to China. Across the land he then traveled, preaching the Gospel wherever he could. Political treaties and general peace opened the way for women missionaries to join husbands in the front lines, and led by Taylor’s second wife, they were lovingly received by the Chinese women. Hundreds more were added to the church, and still the work continued.
Hudson Taylor continued to ask God for more and more workers, and for the money to sponsor them. God never once let him down in fulfilling all he asked for. In amazing ways, He showed His wonderful loving care in even the smallest of details, meeting each need with precision and overflow.
From that time forth, Hudson Taylor traveled the world, speaking in North America, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Australia. Following the awful Boxer Rebellion in 1900 (you really should go read up on it. It was terrible being a foreign missionary during a time when crazy strong martial artists wanted to kick you out of the country.), Mr. Taylor watched his wife go before him into the Promised Land. Returning to China with his son and daughter-in-law (who wrote this book), he was able to go from station to station, encouraging faithful Christians and receiving the loving embraces of new converts.
It was in his own beloved China in 1905, which he had carried on his heart for fifty-six years, from which God our Heavenly Father called his faithful servant Hudson Taylor home to heaven. His was a life of total and complete exchange of burdensome cares into joyful service, of mediocrity into spiritual excellence, of millions dying without hope of eternal life into millions bound for a Heavenly Eternity.
Think about that. Millions of Chinese heard the life-saving Gospel and were rescued from hell because one man accepted the burden God had placed on his life. Every day he followed after God, constantly wanting more and more of His Power, seeking His Will in the work to which he’d been called, and in return, God richly and abundantly blessed the work he did and the words he preached. One man, chasing after God, resulting in the transformation of countless lives, including those who never knew him, like me. How incredible is that?!
I’d like the privilege of challenging you. Do you know what the one thing is that God has been calling you to? Are you willing to get up every day and seek Him first, before everything else? I offer the life of Hudson Taylor as an example of what can happen when one person lays down his life to follow his heavenly calling.
Because if you don’t do something, no one will.
In closing, here is one last quote from the book. One of the first Chinese converts to Christianity once unexpectedly asked Hudson Taylor:
“How long have you had the Glad Tidings in your country?”
“Some hundreds of years,” was the reluctant reply.
“What! Hundreds of years? My father sought the Truth,” he continued sadly, “and died without finding it. Oh, why did you not come sooner?”