By Mary Vee
J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
That's it. I had stood on nothing but solid ground my whole life. My feet, nor my stomach, or my head felt rocking about on a small sailing vessel with only three sails was the best idea.
Once a missing crew member finally stepped on board and the captain recovered from a night of drinking, sails unfurled to catch the wind and whisked us from Liverpool, England toward China. I went below hoping to sleep through the first hours of swashing left...and right...and, oh, my stomach did not care for the movement.
I hadn't slept more than a few moments before being slammed into the cabin wall. The lantern over my head swayed like a sped-up pendulum. I checked my watch. We couldn't be far. How could a storm blast into this channel?
My body fell to the right against the wall and the left against the other wall as I tried to escape my cabin. I grabbed the ladder baring white knuckles to keep my footings and climbed up to the main deck.
The captain made eye contact with me. He called out an order. "Get that man a rain slicker." One of the ship hands hurried to a chest nailed to the deck and pulled out a coat. I wrapped it around me and tied the hood in place.
Wind speeds increased as sands fell in the hour glass. For three days the crew fought the storm without a break except to change shifts. On Saturday the winds slowed and the sky cleared. We had only inched forward a little in the Irish Channel.
The captain raised the sails to move us out of the channel and into the sea. That night, though the barometer dropped, which meant guaranteed rain. The crew prepared for the worst, and good that they had because that night the winds increased like they had been released from a starting gate.
The ship faced the sea without moving. Think of a tall bully with his/her hand on a short person's forehead. No matter how hard the short person pushes forward he/she ends up taking five steps back. Yes, well, the wind played the bully part pushing our small sailing craft, Dumfries, backwards toward the coast of Wales.
The anemometer, a measurement of wind speed, indicated the storm had increased to hurricane proportions. The crew worked every second insuring the sails wouldn't tip too far toward the water and sink us.
The captain stayed watch every moment, shouting orders to adjust sails in one direction or another to move us forward. The bully wind laughed in our faces and pushed the ship closer to rocks off the coast of wales.
My stomach couldn't take the movement any longer. I went below and tried to rest. By two o'clock in the afternoon I fought my way back to the main deck. The sight scared me.
Yes, I believed God is always in control, and I believed He called me to go to China. Still, the sight before my eyes scared me. Rolling waves foamed like a mad dog, sucking us deep into the ocean before lifting us high on the next wave to boast it's next kill. I am but a lowly human!
I stood by the captain in fear. He shouted, "Unless God helps us, there is no hope."
It took my breath away.
J. Hudson Taylor
Phew! Come back next time to read more about the hurricane. Do you have any questions?
Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net
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.