J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
"I have never thought of neglecting to ask God's guidance and blessing in the use of appropriate means, nor yet of omitting to give Him thanks for answered prayer and restored health."
The fierce hurricane winds died, at last. Our ship, the Dumfries, sailed onward near the coast of France. I found it quite amazing to hear the ship's crew cry promises of devotion to God during the hurricane, yet, become angry with Him when the winds died to nearly nothing.
Granted we only had so much food, and no one wanted the journey to China to last a life time. Still, the Almighty is not a puppet or a genie. He deserves devotion in storm and calm.
As the wind slowed to a mere breath, only three men showed a true love for God: the captain, the steward, and a sailor. I had the honor to meet with them to pray and read the Bible during their free time.
The captain gave me permission to hold church services regularly. The large turnout didn't surprise me, the men were bored. It didn't matter. The crew had plenty of opportunity to learn about Jesus while waiting for the wind to push the sails. Whether they actually did not not is on their conscience.
The wait dragged on. The sails fell limp. Predator fish, tuna, and flying fish mocked our pace by moving forward where we couldn't. Each man walked the deck, anxious to climb into the riggings to anchor sails filled with wind that wasn't there, yet.
Near the Bay of Biscay, the men became quite discouraged with the lack of wind. We should have been much farther in our journey. The steward went off duty and came to my cabin for a time of prayer. We asked God to send wind.
The ship barely rocked in the water when he walked into my cabin. As our heartfelt prayers left our lips, we heard a terrible clatter from the deck above. It sounded like many giants jumping on the floorboards.
The steward and I ran to the ladder and climbed to the main deck. As I poked through the hole to the upper deck the wind whipped my hair. Sea wind ran about the deck like prey escaping a predator...an exciting smell. It roused energy and adventure in the souls of the crew.
The captain barked orders to lower the sails. The men moved as ordered soldiers, precise, efficient, happy to serve.
Each time the wind left us, I felt no restriction from asking God to stir the air for us. Showing my faith in God to protect and help us throughout this journey became my main goal. It was God who sent the wind that moved the ship toward the equator.
Maybe one day the crewmen who didn'tt know God will see His love, protection, and help.
J. Hudson Taylor
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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.