How I Know God Answers Prayer
"Nothing is too great for His power" and "Nothing is too small for His love"
By Rosalind Goforth
I have been asked the question: "Has God always given you just what you have asked for?"
Oh, no! For Him to have done so would have been great unkindness. For instance: when I was a young woman I prayed for three years that God would grant me a certain petition. Sometimes I pleaded for this as for life itself, so intensely did I want it. Then God showed me very clearly that I was praying against His will. I resigned my will to His in the matter, and a few months later God gave what was infinitely better. I have often praised Him for denying my prayer, for had He granted it, I could never have come to China.
Then, too, we must remember that many of our prayers, though always heard, are not granted because of some sin harbored in the life or because of unbelief, or of failure to meet some other Bible-recorded condition governing prevailing prayer.
The following incidents of answered prayer are by no means a complete record. How could they be, when no record of prayer has been kept all these fifty years? Had there been, I doubt not that volumes could have been written to the glory of God's grace and power in answering prayer. But even from what is recorded here I, too, can say from a full heart, I know God answers prayer.
Early Lessons in the Life of Faith
In the autumn of 1885 the Toronto Mission Union, a faith mission, decided to establish a branch mission in the East End slums of that city. Three others with myself were selected to open this work. Everything connected with it was entirely new to me, but most helpful and inspiring I found it. In the face of tremendous difficulties that seemed to my inexperienced eyes the insurmountable, I learned that prayer was the secret which overcame every obstacle, the key that unlocked every closed door.
I felt like a child learning a new and wonderful lesson – as I saw benches, tables, chairs, stove, fuel, lamps, oil, even an organ, coming in answer to definite prayer for these things. But best sight of all was when men and women, deep in sin, were converted and changed into workers for God, in answer to prayer. Praise God for the lessons then learned, which were invaluable later when facing souls in China.
The time came when two diverse paths lay before me – one to England, as an artist; one to China, as a missionary. Circumstances made a definite decision most difficult. I thought I had tried every means to find out God's will for me, and no light had come.
But in a day of great trouble, when my precious mother's very life seemed to hang in the balance, I shut myself up with God's Word, praying definitely for Him to guide me to some passage by which I might know His will for my life. My Bible opening at the fifteenth chapter of John's Gospel, the sixteenth verse seemed to come as a message to me:
"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit." Going to my dear mother and telling her of the message God had given me, she said: "I dare not fight against God."
From that time the last hindrance from going to China was removed. Surely the wonderful way God has kept His child for more than thirty years in China is proof that this "call" was not a mistaken one. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will make plain thy paths” (Prov. 3:6, margin).
During the summer of 1887 a book written by Dr. Hudson Taylor came into my hands. In China's Spiritual Needs and Claims the writer told many instances of God's gracious provision in answer to prayer. The incidents related impressed me deeply.
A little later, a few weeks before my marriage, when I found I was short fifty dollars of what I would need to be married free of debt, I resolved not to let others know of my need, but to just trust God to send it to me. The thought came – if you cannot trust God for this, when Hudson Taylor could trust for so much more, are you worthy to be a missionary?
It was my first experience of trusting quite alone for money. I was sorely tempted to give others just a hint of my need. But I was kept back from doing so, and though I had a week or more of severe testing, peace of mind and the assurance that God would supply my need, came at length. The answer, however, did not come till the very last night before the wedding.
That evening a number of my fellow-workers from the East End Mission called, and presented me with a beautifully illuminated address, and a purse. After these friends had left, I returned to my home circle assembled in the back parlor, and showed them the gifts. Not for a moment did I think there was anything in the purse till my brother said: "You foolish girl, why don't you open it?" I opened the purse, and found it contained a check for fifty dollars!
"Go Forward on Your Knees"
In October, 1887, my husband was appointed by the Canadian Presbyterian Church to open a new field in the northern section of the Province of Honan, China. We left Canada the following January, reaching China in March, 1888. Not till then did we realize the tremendous difficulties of the task before us.
Dr. Hudson Taylor, of the China Inland Mission, writing to us at this time, said: "We understand North Honan is to be your field. We, as a mission, have tried for ten years to enter that province from the south, and have only just succeeded. It is one of the most anti-foreign provinces in China…Brother, if you would enter that province, you must go forward on you knees."
These words gave the key-note to our early pioneer years. Would that faithful record had been kept of God's faithfulness in answering prayer! Our strength as a mission and as individuals, during those years so fraught with dangers and difficulties, lay in the fact that we did realize the hopelessness of our task apart from divine aid.
The following incident occurred while we were still outside Honan, studying the language at a sister mission. It illustrates the importance of prayer from the home base for those on the field.
My husband was finding great difficulty in acquiring the language. He studied faithfully many hours daily, but made painfully slow progress. He and his colleague went regularly together to the street chapel to practice preaching in Chinese to the people, but though Mr. Goforth had come to China almost a year before the other missionary, the people would ask the latter to speak instead of Mr. Goforth, saying they understood him better.
One day, just before starting as usual for the chapel, my husband said: "If the Lord does not give me very special help in this language I fear I shall be a failure as a missionary."
Some hours later he returned, his face beaming with joy. He told me that he realized most unusual help when his turn came to speak. Sentences came to his mind as never before. Not only had he made himself understood, but some had appeared much moved, coming up afterward to have further conversation with him. So delighted and encouraged was he with this experience that he made a careful note of it in his diary.
Some two months and a half later a letter came from a student in Knox College, saying that on a certain evening a number of students had met especially to pray for Mr. Goforth. The power of prayer was such, and the presence of God so manifestly felt, that they decided to write and ask Mr. Goforth if any special help had come to him at that time. Looking in his diary, he found that the time of their meeting corresponded with that time of special help in the language.
At last the joyful news reached us women, waiting outside of Honan, that our brethren had secured property in two centers. It would be difficult for those in the homeland to understand what the years of waiting had meant to some of us.
The danger to those dear to us, touring in Honan, was very great. For years they never left us to go on a tour without our being filled with dread lest they should never return. Yet the Lord, in His mercy, heard our prayers for them, and though often in grave danger, none received serious injury. This is not a history of the mission, but I cannot forbear giving here one incident illustrating how they were kept during those early days.
Two of our brethren, after renting property at a town just within the boundary of Honan, and near the Wei River, moved in, intending to spend the winter there. But a sudden and bitter persecution arose just as they had become settled. The mission premises were attacked by a mob, and everything was looted. The two men were roughly handled, one dragged about the courtyard. They found themselves at last left alone, their lives spared, but everything gone.
Their position was serious in the extreme – several days' journey away from friends, with no money, no bedding, and no clothes but those upon them, and the cold winter begun.
In their extremity, they knelt down and committed themselves to the Lord. And according to His promise He delivered them out of their distresses. Even while they prayed, a brother missionary from a distant station was at hand. He arrived unexpectedly, without knowing what had occurred, a few hours after the looting had taken place. His coming at such an opportune moment filled the hearts of their enemies with fear. Money and goods were returned and from that time the violent opposition of the people ceased.
Kept Amid Gravest Danger
A few months after the above incident several families moved into Honan, and permanent quarters were established, but the hearts of the people seemed as adamant against us. They hated and distrusted us as if we were their worst enemies. The district in which we settled was known for its turbulent and anti-foreign spirit, and as a band of missionaries we were frequently in the gravest danger.
Many times we realized that we, as well as our fellow-workers at other stations, were kept from serious harm only by the overruling, protecting power of God in answer to the many prayers which were going up for us all at this critical juncture in the history of our mission. The following are concrete examples of how God heard our prayers at this time.
We had for our station doctor a man of splendid gifts. He was a gold medalist, with years of special training and hospital experience, and was looked upon as one of the rising physicians in the city from which he came. Imagine his disappointment, therefore, when month after month passed and scarcely a good case came to the hospital.
The people did not know what he could do and moreover they were afraid to trust themselves into his hands. We, as a little band of missionaries, began to pray definitely that the Lord would send cases to the hospital which would open the hearts of the people toward us and our message.
It was not long before we saw this prayer answered beyond all expectation. Several very important cases came almost together, one so serious that the doctor hesitated for days before operating. When at last the operation did take place, the doctor's hands were strengthened by our prayers, the patient came through safely, and a few days later was going around a living wonder to the people.
Very much depended upon the outcome of this and other serious operations. Had the patients died under the doctor's hands, it would have been quite sufficient to have caused the destruction of the mission premises and the life of every missionary. Three years later the hospital records showed that there had been twenty-eight thousand treatments in one year.
Again, we kept praying that the Lord would give us converts from the very beginning. We had heard of missionaries in India, China and elsewhere, who had worked for many years without gaining converts. But we did not believe that this was God's will for us. We believed that it was His pleasure and purpose to save men and women through His human channels, and why not from the beginning? So we kept praying and working and expecting converts, and God gave them to us. The experience of thirty years has confirmed this belief. Space permits the mention of but two of these earliest converts.
The first was Wang Feng-ao, who came with us into Honan as Mr. Goforth's personal teacher. He was a man of high degree, equal to the Western M.A., and was one of the proudest and most overbearing of Confucian scholars. He despised the missionaries and their teaching, and so great was his opposition that he would beat his wife every time she came to see us or listen to our message. But Mr. Goforth kept praying for this man, and using all his influence to win him for Christ.
Before many months passed, a great change had come over Mr. Wang. His proud, overbearing manner had changed, and he became a humble, devout follower of the lowly Nazarene.
God used a dream to awaken this man's conscience – as is not uncommon in China. One night he dreamed he was struggling in a deep miry pit, but try as he would he could find no way of escape. When about to give up in despair, he looked up and saw Mr. Goforth and another missionary on the bank above him, with their hands stretched out to save him. Again he sought for some other way of escape, but finding none, he allowed them to draw him up.
This man later on became Mr. Goforth's most valued evangelist. For many years his splendid gifts were used to the glory of his Master in the work among the scholar class in the Changtefu district. He has long since passed to his reward, dying as he had lived, trusting only in the merit of Jesus Christ for salvation.
Conversion of an Opium Addict
Another of the bright glints in the darkness of those earliest days in Honan was the remarkable conversion of Wang Fu-Lin. For many years his business had been that of a public story teller, but when Mr. Goforth came across him he was reduced to an utter wreck through opium smoking. He accepted the Gospel, but for a long time seemed too weak to break off the opium habit. Again and again he tried to do so, but failed hopelessly each time.
The poor fellow seemed almost past hope, when one day Mr. Goforth brought him to the mission in his cart. The ten days that followed can never be forgotten by those who watched Wang Fu-Lin struggle for physical and spiritual life. I verily believe nothing but prayer could have brought him through. At the end of the ten days the power of opium was broken, and Wang Fu-Lin came out of the struggle a new man in Christ Jesus.
Man's Extremity God's Opportunity
In all cases of divine healing cited in this record, it will be noted that God healed in answer to prayer either when the doctors had done all in their power and hope had been abandoned, or when we were out of reach of medical aid.
Soon after coming to China the Rev. Hunter Corbett, one of the most devoted and saintly of God's missionaries, gave a testimony which later was used of God to save the writer from giving up service in China and returning home to Canada.
Dr. Corbett said that for fifteen years he had been laid aside every year with that terrible scourge of the East – dysentery, and the doctors at last gave a definite decision that he must return at once to the homeland and forsake China. But, said the grand old man:
"I knew God had called me to China, and I also knew that God did not change. So what could I do? I dared not go back on my call; so I determined that if I could not live in China I could die there, and from that time the disease lost its hold on me."
This testimony was given over twenty-five years ago, when he had been almost thirty years in China! In January, 1920, when well-nigh ninety years of age, this beloved and honored saint of God passed to higher service.
For several years I had been affected just as Dr. Corbett had been, and each year the terrible disease seemed to be getting a firmer hold upon me. At last one day my husband brought me the decision of the doctors, that I should return home. And as I lay there ill and weak, the temptation came to yield.
But as I remembered Dr. Corbett's testimony and my own clear call, I felt that to go back would be to go against my own conscience. I therefore determined to do as Dr. Corbett had done – leave myself in the Lord's hands – whether for life or for death. This happened more than twenty years ago, and since then I have had very little trouble from that dread disease.
Yes, the deeper the need, and the more bitter the extremity, the greater the opportunity for God to show forth His mighty power in our lives if we but give Him a chance by unswerving obedience at any cost. "In the day when I cried Thou answerest me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul" (Psa. 138:3).
A Treasure Yielded to God
During our fourth year in China, when we were spending the hot season at the coast, our little son, eighteen months old, was taken very ill with dysentery. After several days' fight for the child's life came the realization one evening that the angel of death was at hand.
My whole soul rebelled. I actually seemed to hate God. I could see nothing but cruel injustice in it all, and the child seemed to be fast going. My husband and I knelt down beside the little one's bedside, and he pleaded earnestly with me to yield my will and my child to God.
After a long and bitter struggle God gained the victory, and I told my husband I would give my child to the Lord. Then my husband prayed, committing the precious soul into the Lord's keeping.
While he was praying I noticed that the rapid, hard breathing of the child had ceased. Thinking my darling was gone, I hastened for a light, for it was dark. But on examining the child's face I found that he had sunk into a deep, sound, natural sleep which lasted most of the night. The following day he was practically well of the dysentery.
To me it has always seemed that the Lord tested me to almost the last moment. Then, when I yielded my dearest treasure to Him and put my Lord first, He gave back the child.
A God-Given Field
A few months after our arrival in China an old, experienced missionary kindly volunteered to conduct Mr. Goforth and his colleague, who had just arrived, through North Honan, that they might see the field for themselves.
Traveling southward by cart, they crossed the border into Honan early one morning. As my husband walked beside the carts that morning, he felt led to pray that the Lord would give that section of Honan to him as his field. The assurance came that his prayer was granted.
Opening his daily textbook, he found the passage for that morning was from Isaiah 55:8-13. Like a precious promise of future blessing for that field came the words: "As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void."
For six years, however, our faith was sorely tested.
Of all places, Changte seemed most determined to keep out the missionary. And there were other difficulties in the way. A presbytery had been formed as others joined us, and all matters had to be decided by that body. Two stations that had been opened, where a foothold could first be gained, required all and more than all the force we then had. So for six years the door to Changte remained fast closed. But during all those years Mr. Goforth never once lost sight of God's promise to him, nor failed to believe it.
Again and again when Mr. Goforth and his colleague visited the city, they were mobbed and threatened, the people showing the utmost hostility. But the day came at last when the long-prayed-for permission from the presbytery to open Changte was granted.
The very next morning found Mr. Goforth en route for Changte to secure property for a mission site. Often has he told how, all the way over that day to Changte he prayed the Lord to open the hearts of the people and make them willing to give him the property most suitable for the work. Within three days of his reaching Changte he had thirty-five offers of property and was able to secure the very piece of land he had earlier chosen as most ideal for the mission.
Thus the Lord did break in pieces the gates of brass which had kept us so long from our promised land.
A year later I joined my husband there with our three little children. It was arranged that our colleague should take charge of the outside evangelism while we opened work at the main station.
To understand what it meant for us to have our need supplied, there should be some knowledge of what that need was.
We decided from the first that no one should be turned from our doors. Mr. Goforth received the men in the front guest room while the women and children came to our private quarters. During those first weeks and months hundreds, nay thousands, crowded to see us. Day by day we were literally besieged. Even at meal time our windows were banked with faces.
The questions ever before us those days were how to make the most of this wonderful opportunity which would never come again after the period of curiosity was past – and how to win the friendship of this people who showed in a hundred ways their hatred and distrust of us – and how to reach their hearts with our wonderful message of a Saviour's love.
All that was in our power was to do, day by day, what we could with the strength that was given us. From early morning till dark, sometimes nine or ten hours a day, the strain of receiving and preaching to these crowds was kept up. My husband had numbers of workmen to oversee, material for building to purchase, and to see to all the hundred and one things so necessary in building up a new station. Besides all this he had to receive and preach to the crowds that came. He had no evangelist, Mr. Wang being then loaned to Mr. M_____.
I had my three little children, and no nurse or Bible woman. When too exhausted to speak longer to the courtyard of women, I would send for my husband who though tired out, would speak in my stead. Then we would rest ourselves and entertain the crowd by singing a hymn.
So the days passed. But we soon realized that help must come or we would both break down.
Claiming the Promise
One day Mr. Goforth came to me with his Bible open at the promise, "My God shall supply all your need," and asked: "Do we believe this? If we do, then God can and will supply us with someone to help preach to these crowds, if we ask in faith."
He prayed very definitely for a man to preach. With my doubt-blinded heart, I thought it was as if he were asking for rain from a clear sky. Yet even while he prayed God was moving one to come to us. A day or two later there appeared at the mission the converted opium friend, Wang Fu-Lin, whose conversion has been told earlier.
No one could have looked less like the answer to our prayers than he did. Fearfully emaciated from long years of excessive opium smoking, racked with a cough which three years later ended his life, dressed in filthy rags as only a beggar would wear, he presented a pitiable sight. Yet the Lord seeth not as a man seeth.
After we consulted together Mr. Goforth decided to try him for a few days, believing that he could at least testify to the power of God to save a man from his opium. Soon he was re-clothed in some of my husband's Chinese garments, and within an hour or two of his entering the mission gate practically a beggar, he was seated in charge of the men's chapel, so changed one could scarcely have recognized him.
From the first day of his ministry at Changte there was no doubt in the minds of any who heard him that he had indeed been sent to us by our gracious God, for he had in a remarkable degree the unction and power of the Holy Ghost. His gifts as a speaker were all consecrated to one object – the winning of souls to Jesus Christ. He seemed conscious that his days were few, and always spoke as a dying man to dying men. Little wonder it is, therefore, that from the very beginning of his ministry in our chapel, men were won to Christ. God spared him to us for the foundation laying of the church at Changte, then called him higher.
More Help Needed
Mr. Goforth's need was relieved by the coming of Wang Fu-Lin, but not mine. The remarkable way God had sent him, however, gave me courage and faith to trust God to give me a Bible woman. It is far more difficult to find women than men who are able to preach the Gospel, or if able, who are free for the work. But I was beginning to learn that God is limited only from the human side, and that He is always willing to give beyond our asking, if the human conditions He has so plainly laid down in His Word are fulfilled.
A short time after I had begun to ask my Heavenly Father definitely for a Bible woman, Mr. M____ came in from a tour and his first words were:
"Well, Mrs. Goforth, I believe we have a ready-made Bible woman for you!"
Then he told me how he had come across a widow and her son in a mountain village, who had heard the Gospel from a recent convert out of one of the other stations. This man had been a member of the same religious sect as the widow and her son. When he found Christ he at once thought of his friends, and went over the mountain to tell them. Mrs. Chang received the Gospel gladly. She had been a preacher in that heathen sect, and had gained the fluency in speaking and power in holding audiences so necessary in the preaching of the Gospel.
The way was soon opened for her to come to me, and she became my constant companion and valuable assistant in the women's work during those early years. She witnessed a good confession in 1900 – being strung up by her thumbs when refusing to deny her Lord. Faithfully she served the Lord as a Bible woman until the time of her death in 1903.
Sacrificing to Win Souls
During the first two or three years at Chang Te Fu we lived in unhealthy Chinese houses which were low and damp. It was therefore thought best that we should have a good semi-foreign house built for us. The work at this time was so encouraging – converts being added weekly, and sometimes almost daily – that we feared lest the new house would hinder the work, and become a separating barrier between ourselves and the people.
We therefore prayed that God would make the new house a means of reaching the people – a blessing, and not a hindrance. The answer to this prayer, as is often the case, depended largely upon ourselves. We had to be made willing to pay the price that the answer demanded.
In other words, we came to see that in order that our prayer could be answered we would have to keep open house every day and all day, which was by no means easy. Some assured us it was wrong because it would make us cheap in the eyes of the Chinese. Others said it was wrong because of the danger of infection to the children. But time proved these objections to be unfounded.
The very highest as well as the lowest were received, and their friendship won by this means. And so far as I can remember, our children never met any contagion because of this way of receiving the people into our house.
The climax in numbers was reached in the spring of 1899 when eighteen hundred and thirty-five men and several hundred women were received by us in one day. These were first preached to in large bands, and then led through the house. We have seen evidences of the good of this plan in all parts of our field. It opened the hearts of the people toward us and helped us to live down suspicion and distrust as nothing else could have done.
Sin Forgiven, Body Healed
In May of 1898 we started down to Tientsin by houseboat with our children for a much needed rest and change. Cold, wet weather soon set in. Twelve days later as we came in sight of Tientsin, with a bitter north wind blowing, our eldest child went on deck without his overcoat in disobedience to my orders. Shortly after, the child came in with a violent chill. That afternoon when we arrived in Tientsin, the doctors pronounced the verdict – pneumonia.
The following day, shortly after noon, a second doctor who had been called in consultation, met a friend on his way from our boy's bedside and told her he did not think the child could live till morning. I had taken his temperature and found it to be 106. He was extremely restless, tossing in the burning fever.
Sitting down beside him, with a cry to the Lord to help me, I said distinctly: "P____, you disobeyed me, and have thus brought this illness upon yourself. I forgive you. Ask Jesus to forgive you and give yourself to Him."
The child looked at me for a moment steadily, then closed his eyes. I saw his lips move for a moment, then quietly he sank into a sound sleep. When he awoke, about dusk, I took his temperature and found it 101. By the time the doctor returned it was normal, and did not rise again. Although he had been having hemorrhage from the lungs, this ceased.
Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever? Why should we wonder, therefore, at His healing touch in this age? "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29).
Child-Like Faith of New Converts
During those early pioneer years, when laying the foundation of the Changte Church, my own weak faith was often rebuked when I saw the results of the simple, child-like faith of our Chinese Christians. Some of those answers to prayer were of such an extraordinary character that, when told in the homeland, even ministers expressed doubts as to their genuineness. But, praise God, I know they are true. Here are two concrete examples.
Li-ming, a warm-hearted, earnest evangelist, owned land some miles north of Chang Te Fu. On one occasion, when visiting the place, he found the neighbors all busy placing around their fields little sticks with tiny flags. They believed this would keep the locusts from eating their grain. All urged Li-ming to do the same, and to worship the locust god, or his grain would be destroyed. Li-ming replied: "I will pray Him to keep my grain, that you may know that He only is God."
The locusts came and ate on all sides of Li-ming's grain, but did not touch his. When Mr. Goforth heard this story, he determined to get further proof, so he visited the place for himself and inquired of Li-ming's neighbors what they knew of the matter. One and all testified that when the locusts came, their grain was eaten and Li-ming's was not.
The Lord Jesus once said, after a conflict with unbelief and hypocrisy: "I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Matt. 11:25).
Our little Gracie became ill with a terribly fatal disease, so common in malarious districts – enlarged spleen. The doctors pronounced her condition quite hopeless. One day a Chinese Christian woman came in with her little child of about the same age as our Gracie and very ill with the same disease. The poor mother was in great distress for the doctor had told her also that there was no hope. She thought that if we would plead with the doctor he could save her child.
At last Mr. Goforth pointed to our little Gracie saying: "Surely if the doctor cannot save our child, neither can he save yours. Your only hope and ours is in the Lord Himself."
The mother was a poor, hardworking, ignorant woman, but she had the simple faith of a little child. Some few weeks later she called again and told me the following story.
"When the pastor told me my only hope was in the Lord, I believed him. When I reached home I called my husband, and together we had committed our child into the Lord's hands. I felt perfectly sure the child would get well so I did not take more care of him than of a well child. In about two weeks he seemed so perfectly well that I took him to the doctor again and the doctor said that he could discover nothing the matter with him."
That Chinese child is now a grown-up, healthy man. And our child died. Yet we had prayed for her as few, perhaps, have prayed for any child. Why, then was she not spared? I do not know. But I do know that there was in my life at that time the sin of bitterness toward another and unwillingness to forgive a wrong. This was quite sufficient to hinder any prayer, and did hinder for years, until it was set right.
Does this case of unanswered prayer shake my faith in God's willingness and power to answer prayer? No, no! My own child might just as reasonably decide never again to come to me with a request because I have, in my superior wisdom, denied a petition. Is it not true in our human relationships with our children that we see best to grant at one time what we withhold at another? "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter" (John 13:7).
And one of the most precious experiences of God's loving mercy came to me in connection with our little Gracie's death. We had been warned that the end would probably come in convulsions. Two of our dear children had been so taken. Only a mother who has gone through such an experience can fully understand the horror of the possibility that such might come again at any time.
One evening I was watching beside our little one, Miss P____ being with me, when suddenly the child said very decidedly: "Call Papa; I want to see Papa." I hesitated to rouse her father as it was his time to rest so I tried to put her off with some excuse, but again she repeated her request, and so I called her father, asking him to walk up and down with her until I returned.
Going into the next room I cried in agony to the Lord not to let Gracie suffer, but if it was indeed His will to take the child, then to do so without her suffering. As I prayed a wonderful peace came over me, and the promise came so clearly it was as if it was spoken: "Before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear" (Isa. 65:24).
Rising I was met at the door by Miss P____ who said: "Gracie is with Jesus."
While I was on my knees our beloved child, after resting a few moments in her father's arms, had looked into his face with one of her loveliest smiles, and then quietly closed her eyes and had ceased to breathe. No struggle, no pain, but a "falling on sleep."
"Like as a father pitieth…so the Lord pitieth" (Psa. 103:13).
Violent Mob Restrained
Ever-darkening clouds gathered about us during the months following Gracie's death, and while the storm did not burst in all its fury till the early summer of 1900, yet the preceding winter was full of forebodings and constant alarms.
On one occasion thousands gathered inside and outside our mission, evidently bent on serious mischief. My husband and his colleagues moved in and out all that day among the dense crowd which filled the front courtyards, while we women remained shut within closed houses, not knowing what moment the mob would break loose and destroy us all. What kept them back that day? What but trustful prayer! And the Lord heard that day and wonderfully restrained the violence of our enemies.
After many more years of proving God's faithfulness, Rosalind Goforth wrote: As the past has been reviewed and God's wonderful faithfulness has been recalled, there has come a great sense of regret that I have not trusted God more, and asked more of Him, both for my family and the Chinese. Yes, it is truly wonderful! But the wonder is not that God can answer prayer, but that He does, when we so imperfectly meet the conditions clearly laid down in His Word. All the conditions may be included in the one word "Abide."
– Taken from How I Know God Answers Prayer by Rosalind Goforth.