Over the course of the last six months, as I have been growing in faith in God, I have experienced much good and good change, but it has never been without difficulty. I have found my experience to be a mixture of being rewarding and of turmoil in my soul. Doubt is ever-present, though thankfully it has lessened some over the months. I probably don’t write about it enough, as it may help me better understand myself if I can formulate my thoughts into writing.
I have been reading through a book on Hudson Taylor called “A Man In Christ”, which has been an excellent read thus far. A chapter I read this evening struck a chord with me. Many consider Taylor a pillar of faith, especially in the context of missions. Indeed, he is a great example, but he was not without fault or struggling with God. Here is an excerpt that really sums up how I have often felt lately:
He prayed, he agonized, he fasted, he tried to do better, he made resolutions. He read the Bible more carefully, he ordered his life to give more time for rest and meditation. But all this had little effect. “Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me. I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I began the day with prayer, determined not to take my mind off Him for a moment; but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, often caused me to forget Him. Then one’s nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, hard thoughts, and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed present with me, but how to perform I found not.”
“Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fulness of our precious Savior – my helplessness and guilt seemed to increase. Sins committed appears but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word, but rather made Him a liar! Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world – yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?”
I think Taylor did an outstanding job at expressing the reality of our failures of faith and abiding in Jesus. I connect well with what he has written here, so instead of trying to recreate it, it was close enough to use this excerpt to exemplify what I think and how I feel. It often encouraging to know that I am not the only one to wrestle with these things, so I am thankful that Hudson Taylor was willing to be honest in his writings about things like this.