“I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”
-J. Hudson Taylor
James Hudson Taylor, the British doctor, pioneer missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission (today OMF International) sets an inspiring model for modern day Christians “in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). It is likely that what God accomplished through his life in sowing seeds across China (both personally in through the organisation he founded) is a major factor in the revival seen in China today. From a personal perspective, he is quite possibly the person who has most inspired me outside of the Bible.
This biography is beautifully written, and feels neither over-long nor superficial. Roger Steer (the author) shows real discernment in picking out important parts from Taylor’s life, and you go from reading of his conversion experience, through his early explorations in depending on God for finances (this bit really challenged me to do the same!), to his time over in China. It follows Taylor through fierce persecution, the heartbreak of losing his first wife to illness, the excitement as the mission flourished, many amazing moves of God, and finally a tender treatment of Taylor’s final years and death that will leave the reader in reverence of the Lord who can show men how to use a life so beautifully.
Read this book. Be challenged and inspired by it. Ask God what it means for your own life. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/J-Hudson-Taylor-Missionary-Stories/dp/1850784086 or direct from OMF (http://www.omf.org/uk). To give you an idea of how important I believe this book is, I ordered 28 copies of it to distribute to people at university. For as you finish reading and think upon the short life God has given you, it is not with self-despair, but with a renewed recognition of just how much God can do with a life which is truly surrendered to Him. I’ll leave you with this quote by Taylor – ask yourself whether you can be one of those he talks of:
“All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them.”