The Exchanged Life.

Truth be told, I’m not much of a reader. I really enjoy reading when I find something that sparks my interest, but otherwise, my motivation to read on a consistent basis is low. Very, very low. So when I told Brian last night that I wanted to read our respective books together in the living room (as opposed to watching the House season 5 finale on Netflix…gasp!), he about fell off his chair.

It was a good rainy night. The kind that made me want to curl up on the couch with a good book and listen to the raindrops fall on the pavement outside. Those nights don’t come often.

So, I picked up a book I’ve been working my way through for 8 months now: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. I was about 2/3 of the way through–all of which I had read in about two sittings total. It’s a fantastic book, but for some reason I would read 70 pages in one sitting and then put it down for 4 months. Well, last night I was determined to finish it. And finish I did.

And what a blessing! I mean, the first two-thirds of the book are great, but the last third–it’s “holy cow, rock my world, thanks be to God” awesome. It reminded me of why we chose Hudson as our son’s middle name.

I had known snippets of information about Hudson Taylor prior to naming Levi (Brian knew a lot more), but what an incredible follower of Christ he was. God placed a heavy burden on his heart in his teenage years–to bring the good news of the Gospel to the unreached peoples of inland China. His perseverance and steadfast faith as the pioneer missionary to China was remarkable! After 50+ years, filled with famine, sickness, death of his wife and children, plus countless financial obstacles, Hudson Taylor was finally able to see that vision come to full light.

Here is an excerpt regarding the character and spirituality of Hudson Taylor:

It was the exchanged life that had come to him–the life that is indeed “No longer I.” Six months earlier he had written, “I have continually to mourn that I follow at such a distance and learn so slowly to imitate my precious Master.” There was no thought of imitation now! It was in blessed reality “Christ liveth in me.” And how great the difference!–instead of bondage, liberty; instead of failure, quiet victories within; instead of fear and weakness, a restful sense of sufficiency in Another. So great was the deliverance, that from that time onward Mr. Taylor could never do enough to help make this precious secret plain to hungry hearts wherever he might be.

Not only did this biography spark within me a reignited call to mission, it did something more powerful. It reignited within me a call to Christ. It reminded me that despite my shortcomings and my doubts on a daily basis, my God is ever-present and He longs for me to know more deeply, more fully, and more joyfully the secret that can never stay hidden. Hudson Taylor explains how true communion with God comes from resting in Him:

But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One…”Ah, there is rest!” I thought. “I have striven in vain to rest in him. I’ll strive no more. For has not he promised to abide with me–never to leave me, never to fail me?” And…he never will.

I can never work hard enough, read my Bible enough, or pray earnestly enough to be considered faithful. I don’t have it in me. No one does–for none is righteous and none is able to cling to Christ 100% of all time. Thankfully, my God abides with me. He came down from the glory of heaven to dwell in me. Truly, we can rest on this promise today.

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