A man approached him. "We are desperately poor and my wife is dying. Will you come to pray for
us." He agreed and soon found himself in a pitiful one-room apartment with 4 or 5 half-starved children, and a 3 day old baby.
Hudson Taylor- Part 3
A Character story about faith.
On Hudson Taylor's 19th birthday, he took up duties as apprentice to Dr. Robert Hardey in the city of Hull, England. Hudson was preparing for missionary service in China and he knew that skill in medicine would be valuable. However, he knew that he needed something even more important- an unwavering trust in God no matter what happened. He purposed therefore to discipline himself to live on as little as possible and to give generously to others. Finding a bed for rent in a cottage in a poor section of town, he planned how to eat cheaply. He wrote, "I have found some brown biscuits which are really as cheap as bread and much nicer. For breakfast I have biscuit and herring, which is cheaper than butter, with coffee. For dinner I have at present a prune-and-apple pie... Sometimes I have roast potatoes and tongue, which is as inexpensive as any other meat..." By living on little, Hudson was able to give away two-thirds of is income as an apprentice!
Fancy food was not all Hudson Taylor was to give up. He was deeply in love with a very attractive young girl. He had hopes of marriage in the future. However, when he talked with her father, he was not at all interested in his daughter 'wasting her life' in China. And neither was the girl. "Stay here in England," she said. "We need dedicated Christians too." Thus Hudson struggled between his love for a girl, and his love for God, who had called him to China. Finally he concluded, "I cannot disobey the God I love," and, with a heavy heart, broke off his engagement.
As an doctor's apprentice, Hudson would be paid a small wage. Dr. Hardey told Hudson when he arrived, "I am sometimes absent-minded. If I forget to pay you, just let me know." But Hudson Taylor said to himself, "When I get to China, I will not be able to ask someone to pay me. I will need to rely totally on the Lord. Therefore, I must learn to move men through God by prayer alone." When the doctor forgot, Hudson Taylor determined not to ask him for his pay but to ask God to remind the doctor. Before very long, the Lord tested this commitment.
Hudson Taylor had spoken of God's love to a gathering of poor people and afterward a man approached him. "We are desperately poor and my wife is dying. Will you come to pray for
us." He agreed and soon found himself in a pitiful one-room apartment with 4 or 5 half-starved children, and a 3 day old baby. As he fingered his only coin, Hudson reproved the man for allowing his family to get into such a condition. "Why don't you give him your coin?" the Lord seemed to say. But this is all I have for food this week, he argued back. If only I had change, I would gladly give them some of it, even most of it. "Can you not trust me to provide for you?" the Lord seemed to ask. Hudson knelt down and tried to pray for the family, but the words stuck in his throat. Finally after much struggle, he pulled the coin from his pocket and handed it to the man. "You may think I am rich, but truly this is all the money I own," he said. "But I know that God is a living God and He is able to provide my needs in answer to prayer. He will do the same for you." As Hudson left the home that night, his heart was light and free, for God had tested his faith, and he had passed the test. How thrilling it was the next day to receive a package in the mail containing a pair of gloves, and money- four times the amount he gave away!
But the test was not over. Still the doctor did not remember the wage and soon the gift was used up. The rent was due and the landlady was very poor and needed it. Hudson prayed earnestly that God would move the doctor's heart to remember. Saturday afternoon, Dr. Hardey commented, "By the way, Taylor, is not your salary due?"
"Yes, Sir, and overdue," Hudson replied as calmly as he could. His heart filled with joy that God had finally reminded the doctor.
"I am so sorry you did not remind me, for only this afternoon I sent all the money I had to the bank." Deep disappointment replaced the joy, but soon Hudson was able to pray again that God would provide another way.
The evening wore on, and Hudson finished with studies preparing for Sunday. Just at the time to turn down the lamp, Dr. Hardey came in from his home next door, laughing. "You'll never dream what happened," the doctor remarked. "One of my wealthiest patients just came by, insisting on paying his bill in cash. That is certainly strange. He could have written me a check any time." As the doctor started to leave, he turned back, handing Hudson some money. "By the way, Taylor," he said, "you might as well take these notes. I have no change, but can give you the balance next week."
As Hudson Taylor went home that night, he again was filled with joy, not so much for the money, as for passing God's test. He said to himself, I do have the faith to trust God in far-off China.