J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
On my way home from the shipyard, I stopped off to pay the rent for the sailor's wife. The remaining coins in my pocket repaid the debt the sailor owed me.
The journey to the shipyard and my errand exausted me. Perhaps, this once, I would treat myself to a ride on the omnibus instead of walking home. I suppose I went to my apartment, because when I woke the next morning, I didn't remember laying on my bed, closing my eyes, or a moment of sleep. Time had lunged forward.
The rest obvioulsy helped because I finally had enough energy to do something.
I thought about my plans and what I would do next. I needed to... I took a piece of paper and jotted anything that came to mind: pack bag, buy train ticket, visit doctor who cared for me, and pay bill. That was a good start.
I walked to the surgeon's office to pay my bill. Yes, I remembered Uncle Benjamin planned to pay my medical expenses. However, money jingled in my pocket and the debt was mine. I should pay.
I knocked on his office door. "Doctor, may I have a word with you?"
"Taylor? You are up and about? Good show. Yes. Yes. Come inside and have a seat. Let me get you something to drink." He handed me a glass. "Drink up my boy then tell me what dragged you here."
"I've come to settle my bill."
"You cannot. I've spoken with your uncle and settled the matter with him."
I emptied the glass and set it on the table. The drink helped me gather my thoughts. "Yes, but I have recently been repaid and have my own money to clear my account."
"Its quite out of the question, my boy. As a worker in the medical profession, I have made a strict policy to never charge medical students. Putting food on your table taxes your last penny, I'll wager."
"Here now, let me check your ledger." He opened the file cabinet and pulled out a card. "If you are quite bent on paying your bill, I'll let you pay for the medications. I understand the need to own up to one's bills. Eight shillings should do the trick."
I pulled out of my pocket the eight shillings and handed it to him. "Are you sure? You have bills, too."
"Oh, yes. Quite sure."
I counted the money remaining in my hand. Amazing! "Look, Doctor, God has blessed me with the exact amount needed for a ticket to the country."
He looked over his glasses and frowned. Clearly my conclusion didn't make sense to him. "Could I speak freely with you, Doctor? I want to tell you what God has done for me."
He seemed a little annoyed, and interested only to the point it would make me feel better.
"I owe my life to God and his kind care. I wish, earnestly so, that you might also partake of the same precious faith I have come to enjoy. Let me tell you my story:
"While it is true I moved to London to become a doctor, I really came to gain skills to be a medical missionary in China. To train my body and pocketbook for the hardships to come in China, I turned down money from both my father and the mission society, forcing myself to become completely dependent upon the mercies of God.
"Yesterday, I had no funds to go to the country as you prescribed, yet today I hold in my hand the precise funds needed to purchase a ticket. I told no one of my need. As I sat on the sofa thinking of your prescription, I prayed for a mean to purchase the ticket. God spoke to me, saying I should go to the shipyard."
"The shipyard? Why, the walk should have killed you, man! You didn't go did you?"
"I thought the idea unreasonable as well and decided my illness gave me the ridiculous idea. Yet after I dozed on the sofa I came to the clear conclusion God wanted me to go to the shipyard to see if the sailor would repay his debt. The walk was not easy."
"I should say not. you should have called a friend for help. I assume you chose to turn back."
"Yes. Well. I didn't want to share the need at the time and felt a desire to show my faith in God's commands by not turning back. Once I arrived, the matter became clear to the paymaster and he gave me the funds as the sailor arranged. I stopped off to pay his wife's rent then went home to rest. Today I brought the remaining funds to you." I held the money left from my pocket out to him. "See? The exact amount for a train ticket to the country remains in my hand."
His head fell forward. The man looked ill or consumed with a heart wrenching thought. He sat like that for a few moments then raised his eyes. "I would give all the world for a faith like yours."
He didn't ask Jesus into his heart at that time. When I returned from the country I learned he actually became ill and went to the countryside to heal. I never found out what became of him.
When I think back to my conversation with the doctor, I can't help but see God's timing and direction for me to tell him about my faith. I can only hope I will see him someday again, in heaven.
Now that would make me happy. Really happy.
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.