"Dear Mr. Taylor. I do not accept your proposal for marriage and I feel that it would be best if we are not seen together any more. Sincerely, Miss Maria Dyer."
Hudson Taylor- Part 5
A Character story about patience.
Hudson Taylor was now a full-fledged missionary to China. He was dressed like the Chinese and, little by little, he was learning to talk like the Chinese. How privileged he felt to be able to tell these people about the forgiveness that God offers to all who accept Jesus as their Saviour!
During the years 1854 and 1855 Hudson took ten evangelistic journeys within a few miles of the city of Shanghai. He took every opportunity to pass out Chinese Bibles and treated the sick. Yet, he longed for the opportunity to preach the Gospel to inland China, to the people far up the river, far from the large coastal cities. But such a work would be impossible in the face of war, and anyway, the Chinese Evangelization Society with which he worked, was not prepared to send any missionaries inland. Hudson continued to pray.
On his 10th journey, he traveled to the great island of Tsungming, where he had visited the year before. But this time, when the people saw that Hudson Taylor was dressed as they were, they would not let him leave. He was now one of them and they wanted to hear what he was sharing, and to have him treat their sicknesses too. His visit there would have been longer than 6 weeks but for the jealous doctors and druggests in the area who did not like the competition. Soon Hudson received word to report immediately to the British Consulate where he was told he must leave for the coast at once. Before he left, the blacksmith said to him, "My heart is grieved because you have to leave us; but I do thank God that He ever sent you to this place. My sins, once so heavy, are all laid on Jesus, and He daily gives me joy and peace."
When he arrived in Shanghai, Hudson found his medical supplies had all been accidentally destroyed by fire. Then he received word that his good friend, MrË™ Burns, had been arrested and sent to Canton, 31 days journey away! The Bible promises that "all things work together for good." (Romans 8:28) Do you think that Hudson Taylor might have doubted that promise a little? Other missionaries had retreated to the city of Ningpo, an old city hidden behind six miles of white walls. When Hudson traveled there to get fresh medical supplies, DrË™ Parker asked him, "Why don't you stay here for a while?
I have just the place for you to live." Hudson felt it was God's will for him at this time, so he moved into the attic of an old house.
Not far away was a girls' school, run by Miss Aldersey, and assisted by the two daughters of RevË™ Samuel Dyer, one of the earliest missionaries to China. As Hudson Taylor worked around the city, he couldn't help but to notice the character and love for God that Maria Dyer displayed. He wanted to get to know her better, but it was not proper to be found together too often. Little did he know that she was noticing him as well!
It was while working in Ningpo that Hudson made a very difficult decision. He found it necessary to resign his connection with the Chinese Evangelization Society because the Society was willing to go into debt to make ends meet during hard times. In response, Hudson said, "To me it seemed that the teaching of God's Word was unmistakably clear: 'Owe no man anything.' To borrow money implied to my mind a contradiction of Scripture- a confession that God had withheld some good thing, and a determination to get for ourselves what He had not given." But he added, "Our separation took place without the least breach of friendly feeling on either side."
Now who would support him? Yet he knew that it was God on whom he could and would depend for every supply. At length, he decided to approach Miss Dyer with a proposal for marriage. Though she seemed to be very interested, she said she must talk with Miss Aldersey.
Soon her written reply came and, when Hudson got it, his heart sank.
"Dear Mr. Taylor. I do not accept your proposal for marriage and I feel that it would be best if we are not seen together any more. Sincerely, Miss Maria Dyer." What a shock this was! Hudson had not known that her feelings toward him had so changed! Little did he know that Maria really loved him, but Miss Aldersey considered him to be a poor nobody, unconnected with the mission, and unable to support a wife. Since she was in charge of Maria in China, she was determined to break off the engagement, and demanded for Maria to write him the letter, dictating the content herself!
Now Hudson would not attempt to meet her, but he continued to pray. One day, several months later, a remarkable set of events found both Maria and Hudson in the same room. Without thinking, the 25 year old young man burst forth with his deepest feelings toward her. To his surprise, she told him she felt the same toward him! It was the longing of her heart, and her constant prayer to be privileged to marry him!
But one thing stood in the way. Her guardian was an uncle living in England. Hudson wrote him, asking permission to marry his niece, knowing that Miss Aldersey also wrote, discouraging the match. Then they waited, (mail traveled by boat and would take four months) and continued to pray for the Lord's will. Hudson wrote, "I have never known disobedience to the definite command of a parent (or guardian), even if that parent were mistaken, that was not followed by retribution (evil). Conquer through the Lord. He can open any door."
Finally, in November of 1857 he received the reply. The uncle had asked others about this young man and heard nothing but good both from the secretaries of the Chinese Evangelization Society, and from others who knew him. He consented to their marriage without reservation! The happy day was
January 20, 1858. During their 12 1/2 years together, Hudson Taylor said he could never have asked for a more perfect helpmate. Truly God had worked "all things together for good," in bringing him to Ningpo!