J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
A deadly fever had captured and strangled life from me. I woke, not knowing where I lay, at first. Blurred images focused after a while and I saw my room and Uncle Benjamin sitting next to me.
"Hudson, oh boy, there you are. I see you've chose to wake. Good show. I've called the doctor-"
"No Uncle." I felt awful. My head pounded and I found no strength to lift a finger. That I opened my eyes amazed even me. "Uncle, I have no money for a doctor." There was no cure anyway. Why spend money on a doctor who could do no more than make death comfortable.
Uncle Benjamin puffed on his pipe and watched me for a few moments. He knew the seriousness of the fever. Others had died. Two medical students who happened to be next to me in the classroom with the infectious dead body had already died. He puffed again. "My dear lad, you shall receive the necessary medical treatment. I will care for the bill."
"I'll hear nothing more about it."
And he didn't. Because I had no strength to fight. The next time I woke Uncle Benjamin's personal doctor stood in the room packing his medical bag. He must have examined me as I slept. "Now there Hudson, you obviously know the seriousness of this fever."
I didn't have the strength to answer so I nodded.
"Yes. Well, it seems that those who have led a life of drinking beer and that sort of thing, have been buried shortly after this wretched fever attacked their body. The same will happen to you. However, if you have led a moderate life, you may pull through."
I wished for the strength to show my happiness. But I didn't. As the clock ticked another second, my body grew weaker. Uncle Benjamin set his pipe on the table. "Doctor, Hudson tells me he has never touched beer and has kept a strict diet of brown bread and water."
The doctor nodded. "Good. Quite good. Now, however, your diet must change radically. You'll need strength to fight the fever. You must eat meats and drink a class of wine each day for the calories."
Meats and wine were expensive. I didn't have money for luxurious foods nor the ability to get to the store to buy them. Uncle Benjamin patted my shoulder as if knowing my concerns. "I will see to Hudson's provisions. He will have plenty of meat and wine. Thank you doctor."
I could stay awake no longer. If any dream stumbled through my thoughts, I have no memory.
In the days to come, an attendant woke me several times and stuffed my mouth with the doctor's prescribed foods. It neither tasted good nor bad. I couldn't savor the richness or the delicious flavors normally found in expensive foods. The whole affair seemed annoying to me. I begged the attendant to let me sleep for I didn't want to wake or eat. He, of course, didn't listen.
I couldn't tell if my heath improved any time he woke me.
What I did know was that I hadn't died...yet. And that the great God Almighty had sent my uncle to care for me.
I also knew how it felt to have every ounce of energy drained from the body by an illness. It saddened me to lay in a bed hour upon hour until day turned into week, unable to do anything. No strength to sit, speak, listen, or worse of all, pray. I couldn't even talk with my God to ask Him for strength, to pray for those I love, or hear His voice.
I only slept and wondered if I would see His face soon.
J. Hudson Taylor
Author's note: Hudson will realize, in future days, that God, Himself sat near his bed, breathing life into his body to keep it alive while it healed.
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Photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.