“The secret of faith that is ready for emergencies is the quiet, practical dependence upon God day by day which makes Him real to the believing heart.” –Howard Taylor
The quote above is from a biography of Hudson Taylor, who was one of the first missionaries to reach China with the Gospel. His story is quite remarkable, and his son has written it for our encouragement. There are many inspiring quotes like this in the book, and it has been quite faith-building for me to read it.
Though biography is not my favorite genre, I do think it is important for us as believers to read them. Most of these missionaries accomplished far more, with far fewer resources, than we have. Hudson Taylor made huge inroads in China with almost no money or resources. He faced many moments of crisis when, had he not persevered in faith, his mission would have failed. But, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was determined to keep going because he saw the desperate need of the Chinese people for the Gospel.
Hudson Taylor and others like him were ready for whatever came to them because of this “quiet, practical dependence on God day by day”. When the last bag of rice was emptying, he did not despair or go out begging people to help him. He did not cry out in the streets about his desperate need for food. He simply gathered his little band of believers together and prayed. Without fail, the needed resources would arrive within a day or so of their earnest prayer, and their faith was made real. They were truly dependent on Him for everything, including their practical, day-to-day needs. Housing, clothing, food, medical care—all were provided by the Lord’s sustaining hand.
Friend, what is your emergency today? Has the pain gotten to the point where you don’t think you can take it for one more second? Have your friends left you behind to go and do the things you used to enjoy together? Are you at the edge of despair over your diagnosis or prognosis? Then praise the Lord! He has brought you to a place where you can practice this same quiet, practical dependence upon God. Don’t call someone and complain about your woes. Don’t soothe your pain with food or escapism. Oh, believer, please don’t despair! Tell the Lord your troubles. Tell Him you are depending on Him to meet your needs, and that you trust that He will. Tell Him you are joyfully waiting on His answer, and that you believe that it will come, and that it will be good. Most of all, tell Him you desire His glory more than your comfort. Tell Him that you are thankful for His many answers to prayer in your own life and in the lives of the saints before you.
Now that your faith has been made real, go find someone else who needs that quiet, practical dependence upon God that you have found, and show them how to meet their own emergency. Though you never planned to be a missionary, when you reach a point of complete dependence on God for everything, He will make your life a gospel seed.