J Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ
By Roger Steer
The story of Hudson Taylor has fascinated me from childhood, the long perilous journey he took into the unknown, how he dressed as a native when he lived in China, it has always had an appeal. I was given this book, J Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ, recently and couldn’t put it down, its very well written and captivates from the opening sentence, a quotation from Hudson Taylor’s parents, “Dear God, if you should give us a son, grant that he may work for you in China.” As a parent I was immediately challenged!
The book takes us through the young Hudson’s early life growing up in England, describing his parents’ close walk with God and Hudson’s decision to give his life over to working for God in China. There are insights into the struggles he had as a young man when some of his friends questioned his faith and when preparing to go to China how he wanted to be married and the heartache he suffered more than once until he found his beloved Maria in China (though even that wasn’t without its problems). Here was a man prepared to leave home, family and friends, the comfort and safety of life in England and a career as a doctor to head off to China on a boat, an unreliable missionary society as his only means of support, risking his life, his health, perhaps never to see his parents or sisters again and at just 21 years of age.
Throughout this book Hudson Taylor’s faith and total reliance on God is emphasised again and again, it was the main theme of his life and work. He remained a humble servant of God, accepting all of the situations in which he found himself and relying on God to bring him through or take him to eternity, whatever was in God’s plan. His life was not easy, he had much pain and hardship, problems with fellow missionaries and difficult times of change in China to endure but he was faithful and God blessed his work in China, the Taylor’s family life, friendships and always provided the necessary finance and manpower for expansion of the work. The Taylors’ total reliance on God for everything is humbling.
I would encourage anyone to read this book, I have not been good at reading books for the past number of years but I read this book easily, it is simply a story of a man living his life in a God-centred, God-honouring way (and it also has adventure, romance and danger). I found it particularly challenging as a parent but it also hit home in other areas of my life. It would be equally relevant to a young person considering his or her future or to an older person thinking of winding down in God’s service! I think this is a book anyone could read and I know Hudson Taylor’s was a life from which we could all learn.