Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Man Who Lived by Faith

George Mueller supported and influenced a missionary named Hudson Taylor. As a boy, Hudson loved to listen to his father, a Methodist preacher, talk about China. "Nearly every person there can read. We should flood China with Bibles," he often said.

Twelve-year-old Hudson spoke up. "When I'm a man, I want to be a missionary and go to China."

Hudson's father had prayed for a son who would be a missionary, but he had given up that dream when Hudson was born sickly. The family merely smiled at his declaration.

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
But when Hudson grew up, he did go to China as a missionary. He studied medicine, read books about China, and even tried to teach himself Chinese. At the age of 21, with promise of support for his work, he left England on the sailing ship Dumfries.

The first few days out a terrible storm nearly wrecked the ship on the rocks. When the storm finally abated, the ship sailed south around Africa and India then up towards Shanghai, China.

Just off the coast of New Guinea, the wind suddenly died down completely. The ship drifted helplessly, closer and closer to New Guinea. Hudson could see people on shore dancing excitedly and pointing toward the ship as they gathered wood for fires.

The people on the ship soon realized that cannibals were preparing to eat them for dinner. Closer and closer they drifted. Not the slightest hint of a breeze stirred the sea. Finally, the captain begged Hudson to "please pray for God's help. Please pray for wind."

"I will," said Hudson, "on one condition. You must set your sails to catch the breeze."

"But the crew will laugh at me for setting the sail in a dead calm."

Hudson was adamant. "I will not pray for wind unless you prepare the sails."

Glancing at the cannibals, the captain finally gave the order to set the sails. Hudson went to his stateroom to pray. Shortly, a knock sounded at his door. The captain's voice asked, "Are you still praying for wind? If so, you'd better stop. We have more wind than we can manage."

When Hudson went up on deck, he learned that the ship had been only 100 yards off shore when the wind began to blow. If the captain had not set the sails before Hudson began to pray, it would have been too late.

Hudson Taylor went on to become a missionary of great faith. In spite of a lot of sickness, he worked for God in China until he died at the age of 73. He was the first Protestant missionary to go to inland China and organized the China Inland Mission Society to take the gospel to the 400 million Chinese who had never heard about Jesus.

Hudson and his missionaries dressed and lived just like the Chinese. They didn't want anything to stand in the way of telling them about Jesus. They trusted God to supply all their needs. Hudson used to say, "Nothing is too trivial for us to take to a father." And that is how he prayed--like a child talking to his Heavenly Father.

Hudson used to give food to the poor and needy until even he had no more to eat. Other missionaries thought he was crazy, "living hand to mouth," they said. "Yes," Hudson would say, "from God's hand to my mouth."

One day the cupboard was bare, and their money was gone. Hudson and his coworker tried to sell things to buy food with no success. They began to pray. While they were still on their knees, the servant ran in. "Teacher! Teacher! Here are letters!"

The mail had come in days before it was expected, bringing money from a friend in England. Their Heavenly Father had not forgotten His children.

Stories like these nurtured my faith as a young person. I too have seen God's miraculous answers to prayer in my life. I have told many of them in my blog posts and will continue to write more.

What stories have nurtured your faith? I'd love to hear about them.

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