"He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Ps. 126:6
Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our own feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success.-Hudson Taylor
Quotes like this one, recently read in 'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Soul,' bring my heart back to the stark reality of the spiritual warfare we are in. How easy it is to pass off the reasons for unfruitfulness in our lives on those we are ministering too. I often wonder how much I actually know of God's heart. Biographies like this one I'm reading are good for me. They jolt my heart back to the truth of what really matters in life, and grind to dust any frail aspirations I may have of the Christian life.
I had forgotten why I once claimed this two-volume set as my favorite books outside of the Bible. Now I am remembering. Wading through these two hefty treasures is somewhat like trying to take a drink from a waterfall. There is so much there, I usually can only handle a chapter or less a day. Sometimes I chew on that much for several days in a row.
This is not just a simple biography of a famous missionary. This is a deeply intimate story of a man completely sold out to God from the tender age of 15. It is his step by step walk from an intensely earnest, yet stumbling Christian life, into a man who shook China for Christ. It is the diary of God's work upon a soul. It is a glimpse into the ways and workings of our Lord, as He takes a newborn spiritual babe, and transforms him into one who provides bread for countless numbers of others.
One of the reasons these books have impacted me so much, is that I can relate with them. Every page is filled with the honest wrestlings of a man who longs for God to have His way in his life. It's not an easy road. It's filled with many questions. Hard times. Times of growth. Times of spiritual dryness and apathy. Times of regeneration. Times of joy. Times of tears.
This books strips away any romanticism of the Christian life, and leaves one face to face with the claims of Christ upon a soul. It stirs to flame smoldering embers that used to blaze brightly for Christ. It creates a thirst in the soul for a taste of what this man experienced. It causes one to desire God.
Don't let the bulk and price of these books deter you from discovering these things yourself. To a hungry heart, these hardcover, beautifully bound volumes are life-changing. 15 years in the writing, 'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Soul' chronicles the schools God brings this man through. 'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Work of God' provides an in-depth gaze into how God used this man, now grown into spiritual maturity.
If this review doesn't motivate you, maybe the quotes I will share in the future will! Expect much of Hudson Taylor in the coming days! :-)