“THERE are commonly three stages in work for God,” said James Hudson Taylor (pioneering missionary to inland China): “first impossible, then difficult, then done.”
“We believe… that the time has come for doing more fully what the Master commanded us; and by His grace we intend to do it – not to try, for we see no scriptural authority for trying. “Try” is a word constantly on the lips of unbelievers. “We must do what we can,” they say, and too often the same attitude is taken up by the child of God. In our experience, to try has usually meant to fail. The Lord’s word in reference to His various commands is not “Do your best,” but “Do it”; that is, do the thing commanded. We are therefore making arrangements for commencing work in each of these nine, provinces-without haste, for ” he that believeth shall not make haste,” but also without unnecessary delay…. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good of the land.” “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.”
Hudson Taylor had a new conception of the scope and meaning of faith, upon which a flood of light had been thrown by a passage in his Greek Testament . .. A letter in 1870 showed that he had already-made the discovery which was to be a mine of wealth through all his later life. It was just in his usual reading that he was struck with the words, “Ekete pistin Theou.” How strangely new they seemed! “Have (or hold) the faithfulness of God“: surely it was a passage he had never seen before? Turning to the corresponding words in English he read (Mark 11:22): “Have faith in God.” Ah, that was familiar enough; and something within him whispered, ’the old difficulty!’ How gladly would he have and increase in faith in God, if only he knew how! But this seemed entirely different. It laid the emphasis on another side of the matter in a way he found surprisingly helpful. It was not “have” in your own heart and mind, however you can get it, “faith in God” but simply “hold fast, count upon His faithfulness”; and different indeed he saw the one to be from the other. As to the correctness of this modified translation, Mr. Taylor noted For the rendering God’s faithfulness,’ see Rom. 3:3, where ‘the faith of God evidently, means His faithfulness. The verb translated ‘hold,’ is thus rendered in Matt. 21:26, ‘all hold John as a prophet.’ In the corresponding passage in Mark 11:32, it is rendered ‘ count’; and in that in Luke 20: 6, a different Greek verb is used, which well illustrates the meaning, ‘They be persuaded that John was a prophet.’ Let us see that in theory we hold that God is faithful; that in daily life we count upon it ; and that at all times and under all circumstances we are fully persuaded of this blessed truth.”. Not my faith but God’s faithfulness-what a rest it was.
He wrote “Want of trust is at the root of almost all our sins and all our weaknesses; and how shall we escape it but by looking to Him and observing His faithfulness? … The man who holds God’s faithfulness will not be foolhardy or reckless, but he will be ready for every emergency. The man who holds God’s faithfulness will dare to obey Him, however impolitic it may appear. Abraham held God’s faithfulness and offered up Isaac, “accounting that God was able to raise him from the dead.” Moses held God’s faithfulness and led the millions of Israel into the waste, howling wilderness. Joshua knew Israel well, and was ignorant neither of the fortifications of the Canaanites nor of their martial prowess, but he held God’s faithfulness and led Israel across the Jordan… . The Apostles held God’s faithfulness, and were not daunted by the hatred of the Jews or the hostility of the heathen…. ” And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell “of those who, holding God’s faithfulness, had faith, and by it “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained. promises … out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens?”
“Satan, too, has his creed: Doubt God’s Faithfulness. “Hath God said? Are you not mistaken as to His commands? He could not really mean just that. You take an extreme view, give too literal a meaning to the words:” … How constantly, and, alas, how successfully are such arguments used to prevent whole-hearted trust in God, whole-hearted consecration to God! … How many estimate difficulties in the, light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt! All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them….“Oh! beloved friends, if there is a living God, faithful and true, let us hold His faithfulness… . Holding His faithfulness, we may go into every province of China. Holding His faithfulness, we may face with calm and sober but confident assurance of victory every difficulty and danger; we may count on grace for the work, on pecuniary aid, on needful facilities, and on ultimate success. Let us not give Him a partial trust, but daily, hourly serve Him, counting on His faithfulness.”