I’m inspired by our eXtraordinary God uses ordinary people like us.Have you ever thought that you may be an ordinary person who God wants to use in an extraordinary way?
One story that I am inspired, encouraged and at the same time challenged by is the story of Hudson Taylor.
Reflecting on when he was still a teenager, Hudson wrote
“Never shall I forget the feeling that came over me then. Words can never describe it I felt I was in the presence of God, entering into covenant with the Almighty. I felt as though I wished to withdraw my promise, but could not. Something seemed to say, “Your prayer is answered, your conditions are accepted.’ And from that time the conviction never left me that I was called to China.”
From this point, Hudson Taylor’s mind was made up about his future and so he started to prepare for the journey that God would lead him on.
He began the study of medicine as well as Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. And he started to learn Mandarin.
He realized, however, that the most important preparation must take place in his own soul. In China he would have to depend totally on God as there were not people or medicine or supplies that he could rely upon.
And so he began to prepare by learning how to depend on God.
John 14:13,14 became a passage that he learnt to live by:
“Jesus said – And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.“
Hudson embarked on a faith journey placing his trust entirely in God’s provision, and learning to move men’s hearts by prayer alone.
He made the test in a specific situation about his salary. His employer had asked Hudson to remind him whenever his salary became due. But he decided that he wouldn’t do so. Instead he decided to leave it in God’s hands. So instead of reminding the doctor, he prayed, reminding God
Things were getting desperate and he only had 1 coin left. Then a man asked him to go and pray for his dying wife, so he went to the man’s house and found a household that was starving. So he prayed, and felt convicted to give over his last coin. Which after a struggle, he did.
He went home poorer but happy, despite knowing that he would have nothing to eat the next day.
The next morning the postman came, and there was an envelope addressed to him with a blank piece of paper in it, and 4 times the amount of money he had just given away.
His faith in the power of prayer was greatly strengthened, but – over the next two weeks his money was spent and still his employer had not remembered to pay him his salary.
He knew that on Saturday night his landlady would be expecting a payment. About five o’clock that afternoon, his boss, came up to him and said, “By the way, Taylor, is not your salary due again?” Taylor replied that it was due and past due. The doctor said that he regretted not thinking of it earlier and said that “only this afternoon I sent all the money I had to the bank. Otherwise I would pay you at once.”
Taylor went to a quiet place and poured out his heart to the Lord, deeply disappointed, though careful not to let his employer know it. About ten o’clock that evening the Dr appeared, laughing and saying. “A strange thing happened just now,” he stated. “One of my wealthiest patients felt constrained to come to my house at ten o’clock at night to pay his bill, instead of sending a check as per his custom. Very strange!” The Dr then handed Taylor some of the money and said that he might as well take this as payment of his salary.”
And so, prepared through his faith in the power of prayer, Hudson set off for China at age 21.
About 5 months later, the ship that he was on found itself becalmed off New Guinea.
Seeing the look of stress on the face of the ships captain, Hudson asked what the problem was
The problem was that there was a 4 knot current taking the ship towards hidden reefs where it would be wrecked. That wasn’t the only problem. On the beach they could see cannibals lighting fires and getting pretty excited about the meal that was about to delivered to them.
The captain said: “We have done everything that can be done.”
Hudson responded that there was one thing that they hadn’t done and said that four of them on board were Christians. He said that they would go to their cabins and pray, asking the Lord to give us a breeze immediately.
So they did this. After a short time of praying, Hudson came up on deck confident that their prayers had been answered.
Finding the first officer in charge, Hudson requested him to let down the corners of the mainsail.
“What would be the good of that?” he asked. Hudson told him that he and three others had been asking God to send a wind, that it was coming and that there was not a minute to lose, since they were so near the reefs.
With a look of contempt, the officer replied: “Nonsense! You can’t pray up a wind.”
A few moments later the first officer noticed a few puffs of wind, and was persuaded by Hudson to let down the mainsail. Within a few minutes that were sailing away from the beach, leaving the cannibals disappointed that their meal wasn’t going to be delivered as they had hoped!
Hudson Taylor had learnt to rely on God and the truth of the verse:
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.“ John 14:13,14
Of course this wasn’t the only time that he had answered prayer. As he began his ministry in China, time and again his answers came as a result of asking God, rather than men and women. And so he became known as the great missionary to China.
By the time of his death in 1905, at age 73, he had established the China Inland Mission, an international body with 825 missionaries living in all eighteen provinces of China with more than 300 mission stations, more than 500 local Chinese helpers, and 25,000 Christian converts.
Hudson Taylor was an ordinary man who had faith in and extraordinary God.
He sensed God’s call, that God could use a young man like him. And he learnt to depend not on man or woman but on the prayers that God would answer i accordance with His promise in John 14:12,13.
Stories like this challenge, encourage and inspire me to live a supernatural life; one that depends on God’s answers to my prayers, rather than in my own abilities. What about you?
Perhaps you might be willing to take the time to come before God, to surrender your life, your will and your dreams to Him, and ask Him to use you to glorify Him and see His kingdom expanded?
Perhaps God has a purpose for your life that is extraordinary, a purpose that depends on Him and what He can and wants to do through you, rather than on who you are and what you can do.
Perhaps God is waiting for you to come to this point before He lays out the next step in the plans for you.
And perhaps walking in a faith such as this, totally depending on Him, is the step that that you can take to see incredible answers to your prayers as you, an ordinary person does business with an extraordinary God who can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine.
Talk to your pastor if you want to discuss what you feel that God may be saying to you, and seek their wisdom, working with them to help discern God’s will for you and your next steps in walking into the future that He has for you.
You are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like some more information.
ps – you can listen to a message that this blog was based on here.