J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
The hurricane continued to rage for a week. Waves slapped the deck and winds threw the ship side to side.
The captain stayed his post shouting orders to raise and lower sails, fighting a mighty battle against the wind. To loose would be to let the ship smash to bits against the coastal rocks of Wales.
The ship drifted within inches of the rocks, refusing to obey the captain's orders. We were on a collision course.
I went below to my cabin to pray and sing hymns. The Lord saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire and Daniel from the lions den. He didn't have to, and all four men went into their situation knowing God could choose to save or take them home to heaven.
I wrote my name and address on a piece of paper and stuffed it into my pocket should the ship crash. I also tied a bundle of my clothing and other things together to help any survivors. After another prayer time, I returned to the main deck and asked the captain about the lifeboats.
The captain shouted above the wind to me, "They'll never last in this hurricane. Tell me, Taylor, what about your calling to serve the Lord in China?"
"Captain, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than here, on this ship, at this time. I strongly expect to reach China, but if, for some reason, I don't, I am confidant my Master would say it was well that I had obeyed his command to go."
He ordered the sails shifted to catch westerlies and carry us out to sea, but the attempt failed. The winds blasted against the spar which held the foresail. Every crew member's eyes watched if it would snap throwing the weight of the ship off balance, possibly plunging us into the sea.
Thanks be to God, it held.
But the hurricane claimed that victory, shoving us closer to the rocks. Our fate seemed secure.
The captain pulled from his great experiences and ordered the sails shifted in the opposite direction, to take us back to the Liverpool dock.
It worked! The ship shifted away from the rocky coast. Our lives had been spared for another day.
A few minutes later the captain checked the compass. He tapped the surface. "The wind has shifted two points! Looks like we'll fight our way out of the bay, after all."
The barometer continued to rise which meant the rains would slow, but the winds continued to shove the Dumfries around. The captain controlled a ship like a cowboy riding an unbroken horse.
A few days later the wind rested. God had spared us. Only a few sailors needed any medical treatment from me; I was the ship doctor.
Praise God for his protection.
The journey continues next week.
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.