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Surrendering to God's Plan
“There is no escaping the test. At a certain moment in our experience, often long after we have become disciples, the Master comes on board the ship of our life and assumes supreme control. For a moment or an hour there may be question and hesitation. We have been wont to make our own plans, follow our own chart, take our own course, and be masters in our own craft; shall we-may we, dare we-yield entire command to Christ? To what point may He not steer us! On what venture may He not engage us! At what inhospitable part of the shore may He not land us! Happy are we if, after such a moment of hesitation we reply: “Nevertheless, at Thy command I will put out even to the deep, and let down the nets for a draught.” This at least is certain beyond doubt, that you can never reckon on Christ’s co-partnership and blessing unless you are prepared to sail under His orders, and like the angels, fulﬁll His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word.”
“Whenever (God’s voice) speaks, it may be detected by its constant reiteration of one note, like the sounding of a bell by the tide far out from shore. It is never “Yea and nay,” but always “Yea.” It often speaks in the teeth of ordinary experience and convention, and asks us to leave the beach, which we have been hugging too long. It generally offers the acid test to our faith and exposes us to the ridicule of our associates. But it is endorsed in the depths of our soul by an answering assent. It is corroborated by circumstances. God’s providence bears witness to the inner voice. To disobey is to become a castaway. To yield obedience is to enter on a vast and lasting inheritance.”
“He has a place and a use for you, but you must surrender yourself to His disposal. Refuse to be bound by customs, circumstances, or the conventions of the shore. Make Christ Captain, whilst you take to the oars. At His bidding, launch out into the deep, and remember that yonder across the waters, is the coast-line of Eternity, where in the morning-dawn the Fire and Provision of Divine Preparation await the obedient soul, and the unbroken net shall be dragged to shore, ‘full of great ﬁshes, one hundred and ﬁfty and three.’” F. B. Meyer, Peter p 22
“Surely there is no limit to the possibilities of a life which has become the aperture or channel through which God can pour Himself forth. Are you willing to die to your own strength; to forsake your own plans for God’s; to seek out and do his will absolutely; to take up the attitude of entire and absolute surrender to his purposes; to feed daily on the promises of God, as a girl on the pledge of her absent lover; to step out in faith, reckoning, without emotion of any kind all that He has promised? Then surely through you God will, here or hereafter, work as in the times of old.” F B Meyer, Moses p 12
“The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The ﬁeld of conﬂict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to ﬁght-the greatest battle that was ever fought by man-is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love.”—E. White, Mount of Blessings p 141
“The Son of God was surrendered to the Father’s will, and dependent upon His power. So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will.”—E. White, Desire of Ages p 208
A Mother's Testimony
After the Boxer experience, my husband returned to China in 1901; and, with my children, I left for China in the summer of 1902, leaving the two eldest children at the Chefoo schools, en route to Honan. Mr. Goforth met me at Tientsin, and together we traveled by river-boat inland a journey of about twenty-four days. During those long, quiet days on the river-boat my husband unfolded to me a carefully thought-out plan for future mission work.
He reminded me that six missionaries, from a mission station which had been destroyed by the Boxers, were now permanently stationed at Changte; and that the main station, now fully equipped, no longer needed us as before. He felt that the time had come when we should give ourselves to the evangelization of the great regions north and northeast of Changte-regions which up to that time had been scarcely touched by the Gospel, because of lack of workers. His plan was that we-husband and wife, with our children-should go and live and work among the people.
To make this possible a native compound would be rented in the center, where we would stay a month for our ﬁrst visit, leaving behind an evangelist to carry on the work; and we would revisit this and other places so opened as many times as possible in the year.
What this proposition meant to me can scarcely be understood by those unfamiliar with China and Chinese life. Smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever, and other contagious diseases are chronic epidemics; and China outside the parts ruled by foreigners, is absolutely devoid void of sanitation.
Four of our children had died. To take the three little ones, then with me, into such conditions and danger seemed literally like stepping with them over a precipice in the dark and expecting to be kept. But, on the other hand, I had the language and experience for just such work, the need was truly appalling, and there was no other woman to do it. In my innermost soul I knew the call had come from God, but I would not pay the price. My one plea in refusing to enter that life was the risk to the children.
Again and again my husband urged that ‘the safest place’ for myself and the children ‘was the path of duty’; that I could not keep them in our comfortable home at Changte, but ‘God could keep them anywhere.’ Still I refused. Just before reaching our station he begged me to reconsider my decision. When I gave a ﬁnal refusal, his only answer was, ‘I fear for the children.’
The very day after reaching home our dear Wallace was taken ill. For weeks we fought for his life; at last the crisis passed and he began to recover. Then my husband started off alone on his ﬁrst trip! He had been gone only a day or two when our precious baby Constance, a year old, was taken down with the same disease that Wallace had. From the ﬁrst there seemed little or no hope. The doctors, a nurse, and all the little mission circle joined in the ﬁght for her life. Her father was sent for, but arrived just as she was losing consciousness. A few hours later, when we were kneeling round her bedside waiting for the end, my eyes seemed suddenly opened to what I had been doing-I had dared to ﬁght against Almighty God
In the moments that followed God revealed Himself to me in such love and majesty and glory that I gave myself to Him with unspeakable joy. Then I knew that I had been making an awful mistake, and that I could indeed safely trust my children to Him wherever He might lead. One thing only seemed plain, that I must follow where God should lead. I saw at last that God must come ﬁrst. Before the precious body was laid away preparations for our ﬁrst trip were begun.
Was God faithful to the vision He had given me? Or did He allow the children to suffer in the years that followed, when months each year were spent with them right out among the people? As I write this, eighteen years have passed since we started on that ﬁrst trip, and none of our children has died. Never had we as little sickness as during that life. Never had we so much evidence of God’s favor and blessing in a hundred ways-as may be gathered from the deﬁnite testimonies which follow.
Without one exception, every place in which we stayed for a month, and opened as my husband had planned, became in time a growing church. And I found, to my surprise, that I was able to give more time to the children, that I was able to guard them better when on those trips than when in the Changte Station."—Rosalind Goforth, How I know God Answers Prayer p 70