James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11–13)
Why Bad Things Happen to Good People?
Why does G-d let bad things happen to good people? That is a question we all have at times and wished we knew the answer to. Why would G-d allow a small child to come into the world with no legs or arms? Why would G-d allow so many babies and children to starve to death? Why do the elderly have so much pain, why is it necessary to inherit dementia?, why is a young person’s life cut short by cancer and why is a mother’s face disfigured by her alcoholic raging husband? Why do some have an abundance of wealth and why do so many have to settle for the left over crumbs from the table?
Financial hardship, divorce, poverty, sickness, starvation, and terminal diseases produce anguish, hopelessness and depression for many of us. For the lucky ones that put their total trust in G-d, it is a peculiar but amazing antidote. G-d allows suffering not because he doesn’t love us, but can it be that its because He loves us more? Have we been chosen and lucky enough to suffer with and for Him in all things while on our journey here? Philippians 1:29 confirms my thoughts: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake;
Is Suffering A Blessing?
Ever thought of suffering being a blessing? Most of the time people regard people who suffer as the unfortunate ones. But the Lord Jesus teaches us to view hardships and suffering from a different angle. For Him, those who suffer are the lucky and blessed ones. If you think carnally, you will pity those who suffer but when you think spiritually, you will see that it is privilege to suffer for the name of Christ. We’re all going to face hardship and tribulation and thus, this is why I found the man “Hudson Taylor” such an inspiring example of what living a Christian life really is.
The focus of this message on Hudson Taylor is to clarify that oneness with Christ and an unwavering faith can get us through the toughest of times and that no matter how deep the valley – He is there with us through it all.
James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was one of the most influential missionary statesmen of the modern era. Besides founding China Inland Mission (later the Overseas Missionary Fellowship or OMF), his ideas on mission strategy and finances, his writings and speeches, and his leadership has had a continuing impact on the Christian church up to the present day.
It is well-known that Hudson Taylor was significantly influenced by the Keswick Movement and its views of sanctification, which, in the worst exponents, are seriously flawed. My conclusion will be that Hudson Taylor was not one of those worst exponents, and that he was protected from Keswick’s worst flaws by his allegiance to the Bible, his belief in the sovereignty of God, and his experience of lifelong suffering and sorrow.
Unlike Robert and Hannah Smith, two of the early influences of the Keswick, Hudson Taylor’s did not shipwreck his faith. From the age of seventeen when he was converted until death at seventy-three, 1905, he was unwavering in his allegiance to Christ and Christ’s purpose to evangelize a communist nation, of China. His level of faith you might compare to the Apostle Paul as it was astonishing. His level of Love for Christ always remained strong and steadfast thru his many trials and tribulations as a missionary. If any man ever trusted Jesus totally, he was a man who did.
Hudson was born May 21, 1832 in Barnsley, England into a devout Methodist home. The story is, that he was dramatically converted through his Mother’s prayers. At the age of twenty-one he sailed for China with the Chinese Evangelistic Society on September 19, 1853 with no formal training in theology or missionary work. He landed in Shanghai the next year – five and a half months in route. He later dropped out of the Chinese Evangelistic Society because he had deep convictions that borrowing money to do Christ’s work was wrong. He said, “To borrow money implied, to my mind, a contradiction of Scripture — a confession that GOD had withheld some good thing and a determination to get for ourselves what He had not given. . . To satisfy my conscience I was therefore compelled to resign connection with the Society which had hitherto supplied my salary.” Actually, that was the beginning of a lifetime of living debt free as Hudson never again accepted or asked anyone for anything. He followed the traditions of one of his favorite leaders, George Mueller.
A Vision Bloomed
In 1860 Hudson and Maria his wife, sailed for England. It was then that he became ill with hepatitis and what seemed as a setback would give rise to one of the most decisive events in his life. His burden for China grew in the next four years while in England. He could not shake the idea of a new mission agency there and yet, was he ready for such an undertaking? It was during that time that God birthed in Hudson Taylor a vision that would change the history of the largest nation on earth.
The moment came on the Lord’s Day in 1865 on the beaches of Brighton, England and this was the way he described it:
On Sunday, June 25th, 1865, unable to bear the sight of a congregation of a thousand or more Christian people rejoicing in their own security, while millions were perishing for lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands alone, in great spiritual agony; and there the LORD conquered my unbelief, and I surrendered myself to GOD for this service. I told Him that all the responsibility as to issues and consequences must rest with Him; that as His servant, it was mine to obey and to follow Him — His, to direct, to care for, and to guide me and those who might labor with me. Need I say that peace at once flowed into my burdened heart? There and then I asked Him for twenty-four fellow-workers, two for each of eleven inland provinces which were without a missionary, and two for Mongolia; and writing the petition on the margin of the Bible I had with me, I returned home with a heart enjoying rest such as it had been a stranger to for months.
I Saw World War 1 and World War II in 1855
Hudson Taylor, missionary to China and founder of the first truly inter-denominational foreign mission, the China Inland Mission, was graced by God to ‘glimpse’ some of today’s events 140 years ago! On one of his furloughs to England in 1855, Taylor was preaching when suddenly he stopped. He stood speechless for a time with his eyes closed. When he began to speak again he explained:
I have seen a vision. I saw in this vision a great war that encompasses the world. I saw this war recess and then start again, actually being two wars. After this I saw much unrest and revolts that will affect many nations. I saw in some places spiritual awakenings. In Russia, I saw there will come a general all-encompassing, national SPIRITUAL AWAKENING so great that there could never be another like it. From Russia, I saw the awakening spread to many European countries. Then I saw an all-out awakening, followed by the coming of Christ.
Determined to strengthen his faith by trusting God in all things, Hudson deprived himself of comfort, refused offers of generous financial support, and even found himself near death after contracting a dangerous fever in medical school. Through it all, he pursued his mission with great zeal and dedication. The Christianity that exists in China today is due largely to the efforts of this one faithful man.
At the time of his death, the CIM included 205 Mission stations with over 800 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians.
Jesus said: “I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).