Friday, September 24, 2010

When I get discouraged I think of this lady...

Gladys Aylward (Ale-ward), was born in London around the turn of the twenty century. She worked for several years as a parlor maid, and then attended a revival meeting at which the preacher spoke of dedicating one’s life to the service of God. Gladys responded to the message, and soon after became convinced that she was called to teach the Gospel in China.

At the age of 26, she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted if she could get to China.

Gladys did not have enough money for the ship fare, but did have enough for the train fare, and so in October of 1930, she set out from London with her passport, her Bible, her tickets, and the equivalent of a few dollars, to travel to China by the Trans-Siberian Railway, despite the fact that China and the Soviet Union were engaged in an undeclared war. She arrived in Vladivostok and sailed from there to Japan and from Japan to Tienstsin, and then by train, by bus, by mule, to the inland city of Yangchen, in the mountainous province of Shansi, a little south of Beijing.

Gladys Aylward was a missionary to China for many years. The bulk of her missionary work was concentrated in an orphanage. One time she was forced to flee the part of China where she was living, because the Japanese were invading. But she couldn’t leave her work behind – the 100 children she was caring for. So, with only one assistant, she led those 100 children over the mountains and through the jungles toward what was known as “Free China.”

As she journeyed through the rough terrain, and grueling weather, trying to keep the children together, and safe, while maintaining her own morale, Gladys grappled with despair like she had never struggled with it before. After one sleepless night, she looked out at yet another day of hardship and pain, and no hope of reaching safety.

Then a 13-year-old girl in the group, seeing her leader’s distress, reminded her of one of their most loved Bible stories – the story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.

“But, I am not Moses,” Gladys blurted out in desperation.

“Of course, you aren’t” the girl said, “but Jehovah is still God!”

Gladys and the orphans made it through to Free China. She wasn’t Moses, but Jehovah is still God. This point is simple. No matter how inadequate we are, God is still God. No matter how frustrated we may be, God is still God. No matter how desperate we may feel, God is still God. When we are doing his will whether we’re career missionaries in foreign lands or living sacrifices in our day-to-day world, all our inadequacies, frustrations and desperate feelings are overwhelmed by God being God!

God promises to never leave us. Thereby, peace can reign in our lives if we hold fast to our faith in HIM.

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