Henry Frost reckoned that he has learnt something from J. Hudson Taylor when he visited North America for the first time in 1888. He learnt a lesson about guidance. It was first prayer, then common sense, and it was child like trust all the way through. (J. Hudson Taylor "A Man in Christ" pp. 310)
I think these lessons on guidance do not just reflects how Hudson Taylor lived out his life, but they pretty much sums up who he was, as a pioneer missionary to the mainland China 150 years ago. Finished reading this book on the bus this week, and it was quite an enjoyable biography written by Roger Steer. Quite a few thriller actions, historical background inserted here and there, and also Steer's extended usage of pinyin to describe certain Chinese terms. I drew me to tears (well, not literally as I was on the bus) a few times, especially the scene when Maria, JHT's first wife, passed away at an young age of 33 (ch 33, pp 239-245).
To me, what was exceptional about Hudson Taylor was not his vision, nor his passion. It was not about his determination, nor his devotion, nor his love or wisdom. Most unforgettable about Hudson Taylor was that he trusted - in all aspect of life. God does wonders, and in many instances described in the book, God answered his prayer with right timing and exact precision. However, in other places God did not let everything sail smoothly, and his life was full of up and down. Lost of loved ones, death of young children, poor health, lack of initial support from home, conflicts of interest, and the Boxer rebellion that claimed many missionaries' lives - but nevertheless he continued to trust in God. Apostle Paul suffered, but he did not give up on his mission, so that the Gospel can be spreaded throughout the Roman Empire, and many Gentile can be saved. Hudson Taylor suffered, but he did not give up on his mission, so that the Gospel can reach the people of inland provinces of China, and many Chinese can be saved...
There were, however, a few instances that his trust was just over the top, if one's faithfulness can ever be described this way. Most notable was his early story with Dr. Hardey, Taylor's employer who was sometimes too busy to remember paying him wages. Instead of gently reminding his forgetful employer, Hudson Taylor kept silent and prayed to God and trusted that Dr. Hardey would remember to pay him. Was it the right attitude towards trusting God? Or, would he be disqualified as someone who trusted, if he prayed and actively reminded Dr. Hardey instead? That feels like lacking the "common sense" to me.
Still, need to pray to God more. Need to trust Him more thoroughly.