Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

Most of you have probably heard of Hudson Taylor. You might have even read a book about him. Personally, I had never read a full-length biography about him before I read this book, but even then I knew some basic facts about him: he was a missionary in China and he founded the China Inland Mission organization.

When I reviewed Warren Wiersbe’s book, 50 People Every Christian Should Know , I mentioned that I added more books to my wish list through the reading of that book than from any other source. Well, this is one of those books. In his book, Wiersbe stated, “I cannot urge you enough to read the whole story for yourself and take it to heart.” Now I understand why.

Hudson Taylor’s son and daughter-in-law, Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, wrote Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret, so it’s safe to say that they knew the subject matter pretty well. The book chronicles the life and ministry of Taylor from his conversion to his death.

The interesting thing about Hudson Taylor isn’t so much what he did, but the way in which he did it. His “secret” is blown in the opening chapter when the authors reveal,


Hudson Taylor had many secrets, for he was always going on with God, yet they were but one – the simple, profound secret of drawing for every need, temporal or spiritual, upon “the fathomless wealth of Christ.”

Throughout the book, you see a picture of Taylor as a man who lived a life of total dependence on God. Well, to be more accurate, he lived a life AWARE of his total dependence on God. Consider the following snippets:


He had learned that, for him, only one life was possible – just that blessed life of resting and rejoicing in the Lord under all circumstances, while He dealt with the difficulties, inward and outward, great and small.

...

God was first in Hudson Taylor’s life – not the work, not the needs of China or of the Mission, not his own experiences.

...

To him, the secret of overcoming lay in daily, hourly fellowship with God; and this, he found could only be maintained by secret prayer and feeding on the Word through which He reveals Himself to the waiting soul.

Hudson Taylor never asked for money for his mission and never went into debt to provide for his needs. He simply made his needs known to God and trusted Him to provide for his every need. There were many times when he was down to his last bit of food or money, but the Lord always provided in His perfect timing. Those times of faithful waiting and seeing God’s faithful answers served to strengthen his faith. He was fond of saying:



Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small. Depend upon it, God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies.

As I read the book, I found myself convicted of areas in my life where I try to take control. I tend to pray for the results I want and then fret about how God would want me to bring about those results, rather than waiting on His answer. This is not only prideful, but it is also counter-productive to the peace that God would have us experience as we rest in His ability to answer our prayer.

If you have ever struggled with resting and rejoicing in the Lord in all circumstances (and who hasn’t?), I commend this book to you.


Bear not a single care thyself,
One is too much for thee,
The work is Mine, and Mine alone;
Thy work – to rest in Me.

THE VERDICT: Highly Recommended

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