J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
Several weeks of torment dragged by, leaving the fever to do its worse to my body. Thanks be to God my faithful attendants, cousin Tom and Uncle Benjamin, never left me alone.
Their prayers and constant attention to my needs gave me strength. When at last I asked for help down the stairs to sit on the living room sofa, both men leaped to my side. One walked in front of me down the stairs and the other to my side. "Take it easy, there Hudson. Can't have you falling, you know."
I plopped onto the sofa, leaned my head back, and thanked God for a few minutes away from the bed. The doctor happened to visit that day and seemed quite pleased to find me sitting in the parlor. "Hudson, you've found your way down the stairs! Good show."
"Yes. Tom and Uncle Benjamin helped me." It took way too much energy to say those few words. I closed my eyes.
"Well, lad, I'm surprised you made it down even with Tom's help. Rest a few more days until sitting gets easier. When you're ready, pack your bags and head for the country. The fresh air will quicken the healing. Rest there until your strength and health returns. Mark my word, if you return to work too soon, the fever will gain strength and you'll possibly die."
I had no money to pay for a trip to the country. Once again I asked God what to do. After my prayer, I felt the Lord leading me to go to the shipyard to ask the clerk about the worker who ran away without paying the money he owed me.
"But, Lord, I can't go. The shipyard is two miles away and I barely walked down the stairs. I can't pay for a taxi. It isn't you speaking to my heart, is it? My illness is tricking me."
I fell asleep in the middle of my prayer. When I awoke, I knew in my heart God wanted me to go to the shipyard. How I would get there, I didn't know. I asked God for strength for the journey and faith He would take care of me.
After the prayer, I sent my servant upstairs to fetch my walking stick and hat then set out for the shipyard. Every few steps I stopped to lean on the walking stick and force air into my lungs. In town I stopped and looked inside each shop window while resting. On I pressed. One step at a time. I held onto a burning desire to obey God and rest in His promise to help me complete the journey to the shipyard.
What should have taken thirty minutes dragged into several hours. In truth, I didn't care. My feet would not stop until I completed the journey.
The clerk's office was located up a set of stairs. Workers climbed up and down creating quite a traffic jam. No way could I climb with that wild flow of men when I didn't have the strength to climb one step.
I sat on the first step and leaned against the rail. No one stopped to help. The men had work to do, I fully understood. I prayed again to God to help me climb the stairs and also reminded Him He needed to get me back home.
After a rest, a modicum of strength pulsed through my body. I pulled myself to a standing position, grabbed the rail, and pulled myself to the top of the stairs. The shipping office stood only a few feet away. The same clerk manned the office as did the last time. He seemed to recognize me. "Sir, are you well? Do you need me to call for assistance?"
"I have suffered a serious illness. Thank you for your kindness, though. The doctor has ordered me to rest in the country, but before I went, I wanted to check to see if any news or mistake had been discovered about the worker who ran off to the gold diggings."
"Yes, as a matter of fact I do have news. Apparently two seamen had the same name. One ran off, the other is still on board earning a wage. The man you seek is on board. It would be wise for you to take 1/2 his salary again to his wife. Less temptation for him to spend it unwisely, you know."
He wrote something on a log, rummaged around in a drawer, then handed me the money. The amount repaid me for what I had loaned his wife and provided enough for her next rent! He closed his book and set a lunch box on the counter. "And now, please, you appear too ill to climb down the stairs. Come share my lunch and rest before going home."
The Lord blessed me with strength for the journey, money to buy a ticket to the country, good Samaritans in my path to help me, and, once again shown me I would one day go to China.
Thanks be to the Lord God, my Comforter, my Sustainer.
J. Hudson Taylor
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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.