"He is faithful that promised..."
Rosalind and Jonathan Goforth served as missionaries with the China Inland Mission. God greatly blessed Jonathan's ministry and many converts surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus. At one point, Jonathan felt convicted to go further inland to begin spending a month in the various cities, during which time he would plant a new church. But it was dangerous to do so for many reasons, including losing children to disease. It was in this "decision" context that the following was written and encourages us to surrender. As the hymn writer put it, "Those who trust him wholly, find Him wholly true.!
“What this proposition meant to me (taking the children into the remote, more dangerous and less sanitary regions of China) can scarcely be understood by those unfamiliar with China and Chinese life.... 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.... 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.’
(Shortly after one child became ill and was sick for several weeks, before finally recovering. Later a daughter also became ill to the point of death.)
A few hours later, when we were kneeling around 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 up 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....
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 have 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.” Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayer, pp 72, 73