Monday, November 26, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Fighting to Serve Christ

The militia pounded on my head, arms, and chest. They pulled my hair. I shrank to the ground and became convinced this fifth missionary journey would be my last. I would die a martyr for the cause of Christ. If you missed the first part of this story click here.

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My partner, John Burdon, reached into his satchel and pulled out some New Testaments. If we had to die, it would be while we were witnessing. The leader yelled at his men to cuff John's arms to prevent him from doing anything with the books. Unfortunately, the handcuffs couldn't be found. Still, the leader's message had been communicated. Do not hand out the Testaments to the soldiers.

The soldiers pushed and dragged us where ever they wanted us to go. I understood some of their conversation. They fought over what should be done with us. A couple of the men wanted to kill us right there. The apostles Paul and Peter endured the same trials when they went out to preach the Gospel. 

Other soldiers said we should be taken to the city official. When I heard those words I remembered my identification card and hoped it would help. In between being pushed along the dirt road, I pulled my arm free and reached in my pocket and pulled out a Chinese card with my name. Once the soldiers saw the card they stopped shoving and hitting. They treated us better. Not well, but better.

Once I saw their attitude change, I demanded they take us to the city official's office. The soldiers consented. They dragged us through so many long winding streets. The city didn't seem that big on the outside. We needed something to drink, treatment for our injuries, and to rest.

At long last we arrived at the building housing the city official's office. John and I leaned against the wall, weary, sweaty, and thirsty from the day's journey. I turned to the soldiers and said, "We would like to have a chair."

He held his hand up to me and growled, "Wait." 

John looked at me. We would have to revive ourselves in order to share the Gospel with anyone. I turned to the soldiers again and said, "Can we have some tea. We are so thirsty." He gave the same answer.

The wait lasted longer than we expected. Around the corner, a crowd had gathered. John smiled and pulled out a handful of Testaments. "Let's go, Hudson." We walked around the corner and called out to the crowd. They immediately turned toward us. John preached one of the most compelling messages that afternoon. 

As he preached, our cards and New Testaments were taken in to the city officer. Hours later the a messenger said the official wanted to refer us to his superior officer. Apparently he hardly had any rank and planned to release us to the crowds to do whatever they wanted.

I remembered what the Apostle did in a similar situation and refused to move a single step until John and I had a chair to sit for a while. The soldiers complained and fussed but got the chairs and carried us to the superior's office.

Being a Christian doesn't mean we have to allow others to mistreat us. We can fight when the law is being violated.

This story will continue next week.

J. Hudson Taylor
Servant of God in China

Do you have any questions?

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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.

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