Monday, July 3, 2017

Jonathan Goforth- Hiding Only Brings Sorrow

By Mary Vee
Year: October 1902
Jonathan Goforth-43 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries to China. I've been so excited to have my family back here with me. While my wife and children were in Canada, God gave me a brilliant idea.

The Chinese nationals in Changte who loved God proved their desire to take over the duties of the church. They'd stood strong for their faith even when their lives were threatened.

I turned the work over to them knowing they would tell their friends about the living God who loves them. It was time for me to go to other cities and villages in this region. I couldn't wait to get started.

But when I told Rosalind my idea, she said she wouldn't go. I was heart broken. "Please?" I begged her. "In my heart God has shown me the children will be safe and well. I need you."

She shook her head. "I will not let another child get sick from the awful diseases they have here. I'm going to keep them in the house and take care of them myself. No national nannies, and they won't be allowed to play with other Chinese children."

I pleaded with her. She refused to change her mind. In the days following, the other missionaries and I prepared and planned for a month long trip to the first village on our list. 

We didn't know how, but my son, Wallace became ill with dysentery. He was a strong boy, and with the doctor's help his health improved. I thought it was a good time to ask again, "Rosalind, please come with me. I need you and the children."

She said no. "I just can't expose the children to any more diseases."

I left for the next village with the other missionaries. I missed her. It would have been nice to hear the portable organ play in the meetings and have Rosalind to talk with the Chinese women. In one month's time, God opened the hearts of many Chinese in the new village. We started a new church there and placed the strong believers in God as the leaders. 

The other missionaries and I packed our things and returned to Changte promising to come back to the village to give any help. I walked in my front door excited to see my family, and asked, "How is Wallace?"

Rosalind kissed me and took me to the children's room. "Wallace has recovered."

"That's good news. Where is he?"

"Playing." A tear dripped from her eye.

"What's wrong?" 

"The baby is sick with dysentery. I called the doctor."

I walked into the baby's room. Constance lay still. 

"She's been sick for three days. The doctor came each morning to do what he could. He said her case is much worse than Wallace's. Jonathan, what can we do? We can't lose another child. Please, Jonathan." She wept.

"We can pray." I wrapped my arm around her and prayed, asking God to save our little daughter. I knew in my heart God loves His children and that the time for each one here on earth is unknown. When I opened my eyes Constance lay still in her bed. I set my hand on her forehead and felt no warmth. "She is with Jesus, Rosalind."

My poor wife. She cried so intensely. Her body shook with sobs for the longest time. After a while she took a deep breath and prayed out loud. "O God Almighty, You are the giver of life. Thank you for holding Constance right now. I know she can't come back to us here, but I trust You to love her until I can see her again." She wiped new tears on her sleeve. "This time, I will go where You want me to go to any village or city and tell the people about You." Two sobs crept from her before she said more. "Please, keep the rest of my children safe while they are with us."

We spent time remembering Constance with our friends, and laid her with her two sisters under the beautiful tree in the back of the compound.

That evening, Rosalind began packing for the next village. "Jonathan?"


"From now on, the children and I will go with you and tell the Chinese about the living God who loves them. I won't hide with them any more. Hiding only brings sorrow."

I wrapped my arms around her, more in love with this wonderful wife God gave me than ever before. "I love you, Rosalind."

Life is never easy. Not on the mission field. Not at home. There is one thing we can remember and that is God loves us more than we can ever understand.

There is more to this story. Come back next time.

Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.

Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.


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