Getting alone with God
The young Hudson Taylor, newly converted, began to feel, as all new believers do, the desire to serve God in some practical way.
Finding that he had a spare afternoon, young Hudson decided to spend it in prayer. That is an immediate challenge to any young man today, who might, instead, spend the afternoon on the PlayStation or with friends at the mall. Who spends a whole afternoon in prayer?
Even those who are committed to the idea of mission may find that their initial impulse is not necessarily Godward. Research is good, valuable, helpful. Planning is critical. Advice from key leaders, seasoned professionals, may prove foundational. But, if you are seeking to impact a town or region with the gospel then let Hudson Taylor’s first lesson speak to you.
If you’re going to be a leader you need to turn aside and spend time with God. Did this simple spiritual truth get quietly relegated to the second division while the Premiership players published their runaway bestsellers? Hudson Taylor’s testimony could strike us as simplistic. Well, let’s risk it…
HT: ‘Well do I remember that occasion. How in the gladness of my heart I poured out my soul before God; and again and again confessing my grateful love to Him who had done everything for me – who had saved me when I had given up all hope and even desire for salvation…’
‘Some self-denying Service‘
He continues, ‘I besought Him to give me some work to do for Him, as an outlet for love and gratitude; some self-denying service, no matter what it might be, however trying or however trivial; something with which He would be pleased, and that I might do for Him who had done so much for me.
Well do I remember, as an unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all, upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted.
The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed…I remember stretching myself on the ground, and lying there silent before Him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy.’
‘I was no longer my own‘
HT: ‘For what service I was accepted I knew not; but a deep consciousness that I was no longer my own took possession of me, which has never been effaced [has never been erased, has never faded].’
Speaking of an exciting opportunity to become an apprentice to a medical doctor a couple of years later he wrote of how he felt it would take him off course in terms of his calling to serve God: ‘I felt I dared not accept any binding engagement such as was suggested.
‘I was not my own to give myself away; for I knew not when or how He whose alone I was, and for whose disposal I felt I must ever keep myself free, might call for service.
‘Within a few months of this time of consecration the impression was wrought into my soul that it was in China the Lord wanted me…’[i]
To read the next part of the Hudson Taylor story click here
For the first part in the Hudson Taylor Story click here
© 2011 Church History / Lex Loizides
[i] All quotes from James Hudson Taylor, A Retrospect. Also published as ‘To China with Love’ (Bethany House, Minneapolis)