God Reports
8/7/13 at 06:34 PM 0 Comments

Hudson Taylor’s Revival of the Heart

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Hudson Taylor

By Mark Ellis

James Hudson Taylor, the pioneering missionary who opened inland China to the Gospel, had a remarkable experience with God that brought newfound peace and unsurpassed joy to his ministry. And it happened in a most unexpected way.

On the outside, Taylor may have appeared as a pillar of strength. But inwardly, the pressures and demands of growing ministry responsibilities were taking their toll. He had trusted God for 24 fellow workers to open the interior of China. But as the new workers entered the field, threats multiplied.

“Those were days when scarcely a station in China was opened without danger to life itself. Riots were so usual that they seemed almost part of the proceedings,” wrote Taylor’s second son, Howard, in the classic book, “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.” (Moody Publishers)

As his burdens increased, Hudson penned this in a letter to his mother, “At times I seem almost overwhelmed with the internal and external trials connected with our work.”

The inward struggle seemed to echo the Apostle Paul’s in Romans 7. “I cannot tell you how I am buffeted sometimes by temptation. I never knew how bad a heart I have,” Taylor wrote.

“Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power,” he wrote to his sister. “Must it be thus to the end – constant conflict, and too often defeat?” “Instead of growing stronger, I seem to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin,” he confessed. “I hated myself, I hated my sin, yet gained no strength against it.”

The more he strove after holiness, the more it seemed to elude his grasp. As he considered the grace lavished on him by Jesus, Taylor’s guilt and helplessness increased. “Unbelief was I felt the damning sin of the world, yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?”

But then, 15 years after he first set foot in China, God reached down and touched his heart in such a powerful way it changed the course of his future ministry. The transformative moment came as Taylor perused a letter from a fellow missionary, John McCarthy.

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