Excerpts from Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

Read a part of Hudson Taylor’s struggle before he went to China for the missions work which touched me very much. 🙂 This is from the book “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”. Below are some excerpts with Hudson Taylor as the first person:

“After concluding my last service about ten o’clock that night, a poor man asked me to go and pray with his wife, saying that she was dying. I readily agreed, and on the way asked him why he had not sent for the priest, as his accent told me he was an Irishman. He has done so, he said, but the priest refused to come without a payment of eighteen pence, which the man did not possess as the family was starving. Immediately it occurred to my mind that all the money I had in the world is the solitary half-crown (about one dollar), and that was in one coin… I certainly had nothing for dinner on the coming day.

Somehow or other, there was at once a stoppage in the flow of joy in my heart. But instead of reproving myself, I began to reprove the poor man, telling him that it was very wrong to have allowed matters to get into such a state as he described, and that he ought to have applied to the relieving officer. ‘Ah,’ thought I, ‘If only I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of this half-crown, how gladly would I give these poor people a shilling!’ But to part with the half-crown was far from my thoughts. I little dreamed that the truth of the matter simply was that I could trust God with one and six pence, but was not prepared to trust Him only, without any money at all in my pocket.

Up a miserable flight of stairs into a wretched room the man led me, and oh, what a sight there presented itself! Four or five children stood about, their sunken cheeks and temples telling unmistakably the story of slow starvation, and lying on a pallet was a poor, exhausted mother, with a tiny infant thirty six hours old moaning rather than crying at her side. ‘Ah!’ thought I, ‘if I had two shillings and a sixpence, instead of half-a-crown, how gladly should they have one and six pence of it.’ But still a wretched unbelief prevented me from obeying the impulse to relieve their distress at the cost of all I possessed.

It will scarcely seem strange that I was unable to say much to comfort these poor people. I needed comfort myself. I began to tell them, however, that they must not be cast down; that though their circumstances were very distressing, there was a kind and loving Father in heaven. But something within me cried, ‘You hypocrite! telling these unconverted people about a kind and loving Father in heaven, not prepared yourself to trust Him without half-a-crown.’ I nearly choked.

To talk was impossible under these circumstances, yet strange to say I thought I should have no difficulty in praying. Prayer was a delightful occupation in those days. Time thus spent never seemed wearisome and I knew no lack of words. I seemed to think that all I should have to do would be to kneel down and pray, and that relief would come to them and to myself together.

‘You asked me to come and pray with your wife,’ I said to the man; ‘let us pray.’ And I knelt down.

But no sooner had I opened my lips with, ‘Our Father who art in heaven,’ then conscience said within, ‘Dare you mock God? Dare you kneel down and call Him ‘Father’ with that half-crown in your pocket?’

Such a time of conflict then came upon me as I had never experienced before. How I got through that form of prayer I know not, and whether the words uttered were connected or disconnected. But I arose from my knees in great distress of mind.

The poor father turned to me and said, ‘You see what a terrible state we are in, sir. If you can help us, for God’s sake do!’

At that moment, the word flashed into my mind, ‘Give to him that asketh of thee.’ And in the word of a King, there is power.

I put my hand into my pocket and slowly drawing out the half-crown, gave it to the man, telling him that it might seem a small matter for me to relieve them, seeing that I was comparatively well off; but that in parting with that coin, I was giving him my all; and that what I had been trying to tell them was indeed true, God really was a Father and might be trusted. And how the joy came back in full flood tide to my heart! I could say anything and feel it then, and the hindrance to blessing was gone – gone, I trust, forever.

Not only was the poor woman’s life saved, but my life as I fully realized had been saved too. I well remember that night as I went home to my lodgings how my heart was as light as my pocket. The dark, deserted streets resounded with a hymn of praise that I could not restrain.”

I was inspired by Hudson Taylor’s obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit after reading this story. Many times, it is not easy to obey God even after He has spoken. I can identify with his struggles because sometimes in the missions field, it is so difficult to trust God only. I give God many conditions to fulfill before I can really trust God fully. It is easy to give partly but not easy to give completely. To live a totally surrendered life is really a challenge and it can only be done by the grace of God. “Jesus, help me to surrender more of myself to you each day.”


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