Have you ever been told that you’re just not good enough? Have teachers or other people of influence in your life told you that you are not capable of learning the subject matter and that you should abandon your studies and dreams? Maybe these disheartening messages have come from within your own person or from others or both. Has God called you to something that others disagree with and tell you that you’re wrong and now you are in doubt? What if, deep down, you know your calling but obstacle after obstacle was rolled into your path? All of these scenarios describe the challenges that faced Gladys Aylward. Born in 1902, she was convinced from childhood that her destiny was mission work in China. The journey to get there was an uphill battle from the start but her determination and belief in God’s calling enabled her to defy all odds and fulfill her dream. Below are just a few of the obstacles she overcame:
- Being small in stature and weak in constitution, she was repeatedly told she could never endure the hardships that rural Chinese life would consist of.
- Her parents were working class people that could not offer any financial support for her dream so she went to work as a teen housemaid to save toward the cost of getting to China. She saved for years on a meager salary to pay her own passage to China.
- She applied to the established Inland Chinese Mission Board but was eventually released from language school after being told she did not possess the aptitude for learning Chinese.
- She traveled alone on the perilous Trans-Siberia railway and was detained many times on her journey by Russians and others who sought to do her harm. God protected her and she finally reached China in 1932.
This little woman, with no aptitude or support, worked faithfully in China and rescued over 100 Chinese orphans when Japan invaded in 1938. She took them over a mountain pass to safety and did not lose a single child even tho she herself was wounded on the trek. She was revered among the Chinese people and became known as the, “Virtuous One.”
Gladys Aylward, thank you for your legacy of faith, hope, determination and courage. Thank you for overcoming the mountains of “NO” in your life! Thank you for reminding me that a calling from God does is not necessarily an easy one. Thank you for living out a life that was totally dependent on God! Thank you for proving that if God calls and equips, it will be enough. Thank you for confirming that our weaknesses are not a hindrance in God’s economy or plans!
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.