J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
Toward the end of my medical training, a grouchy, old man had been transferred to me as a patient. He had a serious infection in his foot. The poor man didn't realize the illness that went along with the infection would soon take his life.
The man didn't believe in God, and he made it quite clear he wanted to hear nothing about God.
I wanted to be a testimony to the fellow. This could be a challenge.
The first day I met with him, I dressed his wound with great care, watching to cause as little pain as possible. I might have said a word or two about his foot before I left. The man seemed nice. He didn't complain, anyway.
The next two days I did the same thing: dressed the wound, say a few cordial words, leave.
Each day I prayed before entering his room, asking for God's mercy on the man's life and for the right words to say at the right time.
On the fourth day, the man squeezed a small smile at me when I entered the room. He didn't fuss when I changed his bandages, in fact, he became quite pleasant. I took his actions as a sign too speak with him about what would happen after he died and the marvelous gift of life from Christ.
Well, this didn't go over very well. The old man became grouchy again, rolled away from me, and refused to speak.
I thought of him all day long and prayed for his soul with all my heart. "Please Lord, don't take him before I can share your love with him."
The next day he rolled away the instant I walked in the door. I changed his bandage which relieved his pain, and chose to say a few words about Jesus and His love. The man wouldn't even grunt or complain. He made sure I knew to leave right away.
For quite some time, we followed a routine: I prayed before our meeting then walked into his room, he turned away, I changed his dressing and said a few words about Jesus and His love, he ignored me, I walked away.
After a while the routine became tiresome. Maybe he would be like the ones Jesus talked about: if they wouldn't listen, shake off your sandal and walk away. But I didn't want to. With all my heart I wanted to tell this man about Jesus and His love. Then again...
One day, I decided to go in his room, change his wound and leave. No words. Just give him what he wanted. I prayed as usual, walked into his room, changed his dressings then walked to the door. The man turned toward me with a surprised look.
How could I not speak with a man in need of Christ? Tears dripped down my cheeks. I walked to his bed. "Friend, whether you want to hear what is on my heart or not, I must pray for you."
He shrugged. "Very well, if it will make you feel better. Go ahead."
I didn't waste a second. I fell to my knees and prayed out loud the words flooding into my heart. Since the man didn't say a word, I got up and left.
After that day, the grouchy man seemed to changed. God had touched his heart. He stopped turning away from me when I talked about Jesus' love.
And a few days later, the grouchy man asked Jesus into his heart.
He told me about the times he refused to go in a church, it had been forty years. He didn't even go for his wife's funeral.
But the day he asked Jesus into his heart, the grouchy man found peace, kind words, a smile, and a joy worth dancing for if it weren't for his disease.
I often think back to that man to remind myself, never give up, never stop witnessing.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--soon!
Do you have any questions?
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.