It Is Not Death to Die

Several years ago, a book made its rounds in popularity in Protestant circles.  The book?  Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.  In simple explanation, Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China in the 19th century.  He founded the China Inland Mission, which is still in existence today as Overseas Missionary Fellowship International.  But Hudson Taylor’s influence has been anything but simple. He inspired generations of Christians to live in abandonment to the gospel message of grace found in Jesus Christ.  Because of his impact and evangelism, several other British men gave their lives to Christ and took His message worldwide.  Sadly, I am finding that more and more people have not even heard of Hudson Taylor or know very little about his life.

Last night I began reading It Is Not Death to Die : A New Biography of Hudson Taylor, a book that my husband thought I would enjoy.  I barely finished three pages, and I was filled with a stirring heart, memories of the passionate conversations with friends when we were in young adulthood, a summer mission trip to Japan and China.  We stood on the Great Wall with an open Bible and prayed for the country that was home to at least 25% of the world’s population.  We prayed that the grace and love of Christ would break the bondage of godless communism.  This immature Christian college student returned to the States changed forever, sensing an urgent call to full time ministry.  I thought I would become a missionary to China.  God had other plans.  Yet in the past couple of years, the urgency has returned…to share the truth in a world that desperately cries out in the midst of turmoil.  Jesus Christ is the only constant.  Jesus Christ does not change.

May I encourage you to read this biography?  It opens with an excerpt from Hudson Taylor’s writings at a time when he was feeling forgotten by the Christian world and confined to bed because of a fall he had suffered, leaving him practically paralyzed for a time :

“If God has called you to be really like Jesus in your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience that He will not allow you to follow other Christians ; and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things that HE will not let you do … Others may brag on themselves, on their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing; and if you begin it, HE will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.  Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is unlikely that God will will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege (the right) of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.  The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden away in obscurity, because He wants some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade…

The Holy Spirit will put a watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, over which other Christians never seem distressed.  So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has the right to do as He pleases with His own, and He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you…

Settle it for ever that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that HE is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not deal with others.  Now when you are so possessed with the Living God, that you are in your secret heart pleased and delighted over the peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.”

It is my prayer that anyone who happens upon this page will find encouragement and the kindling to keep the fire going.

In His love,