September 19, 1853 was a day Hudson Taylor would never forget. Neither would his mother. It was on that day that Taylor, England’s world-famous missionary, set sail for China where he would spend most of his life.
But neither of them imagined this moment could be so difficult.
From his journal, we find these words about that moment of departure from England:
My beloved, now sainted mother, had come over to Liverpool to see me off. Never shall I forget that day, nor how she went with me into the cabin that was to be my home for nearly six long months. With a mother’s loving hand she smoothed the little bed. She sat by my side and joined in the last hymn we should sing together before parting. We knelt down and she prayed – the last mother’s prayer I was to hear before leaving for China. Then notice was given that we must separate, and we had to say goodbye, never expecting to meet on earth again.
For my sake she restrained her feelings as much as possible. We parted, and she went ashore giving me her blessing. I stood alone on deck, and she followed the ship as we moved toward the dock gates. As we passed through the gates and the separation really commenced, never shall I forget the cry of anguish wrung from that mother’s heart. It went through me like a knife. I never knew so fully until then what ‘God so loved the world’ meant. And I am quite sure my precious mother learned more of the love of God for the perishing in that one hour than in all her life before.
Bear in mind, this departure happened before the invention of cell phones and video chatting. Neither thought they would ever hear the sound of the other’s voice; these two were saying goodbye for what they assumed would be the rest of their lives. Most of us cannot imagine the pain these two experienced in that moment, but both of them were simply modeling the commitment to Christ that the Lord outlined in Matthew 10:37-39.
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secrets by Howard and Geraldine Taylor. Discovery House, 1990, Pages 33-34.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)