Carlos Kalczuk gave me my copy of Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret on my 30th birthday. What a great gift. It quickly became one of my all time favorites. It’s the story of Hudson Taylor, who left England at a young age and founded the China Inland Mission. In some sense it’s a missionary biography, but the focus of the book, as the title suggests, is not simply on the events of Taylor’s life, but on the hidden spiritual life he enjoyed. It’s all about the “secret” source of power and life he enjoyed with the Lord. So it’s immediately applicable to your life, even if you’ll never leave America.
The church bookstore has a cheap softcover and a still-pretty cheap cloth-bound version (pictured) that’s just over 200 pages. It’s a quick read, and full of one-liners that will stick with you for the rest of your life. I recommend it for a challenge and an encouragement.
Here’s a couple excerpts. The first has one of my favorite lines in the book. It’s from when he was preparing himself to go to the mission field.
“To me it was a very grave matter to contemplate going out to China, far from all human aid, there to depend upon the living God alone for protection, supplies, and help of every kind. I felt that one’s spiritual muscles require strengthening for such an undertaking. There was no doubt that if faith did not fail, God would not fail. But if one’s faith should prove insufficient? I had not at that time learned that even ‘if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself.’ It was consequently a very serious matter to my mind, not whether he was faithful, but whether I had strong enough faith to warrant my embarking on the enterprise set before me. ‘When I get out to China,’ I thought to myself, ‘I shall have no claim on anyone for anything . My only claim will be on God. How important to learn, before leaving England, to move man, through God, by prayer alone.” (p. 17)
And this is from a letter he wrote to his sister, after he had been in China some time:
“Oh, my dear sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Savior, to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and your left poor? Or your head be well fed while your body starves? Again, think of its bearing on prayer. Could a bank clerk say to a customer, ‘It was only your hand, not you that wrote that check’; or ‘I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself’? No more can your prayers be discredited if offered in the name of Jesus (i.e., not for the sake of Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are his, his members) so long as we keep within the limits of Christ’s credit – a tolerably wide limit! If we ask anything unscriptural, or not in accordance with the will of God, Christ himself could not do that. But ‘If we ask any thing according to His will… we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.’
The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for he, I know, is able to carry out His will, and his will is mine. It makes no matter where he places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position he must give me his grace, and in the most difficult his grace is sufficient. It little matters to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things, or the most expensive articles. In either case he looks to me for the money and brings me his purchases. So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must he not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for he is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.” (p. 136-137)