Those of you who follow along with Carrie’s Reading to Know Classics Book Club. know that we were originally going to do To the Golden Shore by Adoniram Judson this month. But shortly before the end of September, I began to be concerned that most participants might not read it, for several reasons: the book club was running a bit behind due to some lengthier classics earlier in the year and to busy life circumstances, there is no Kindle version of this book, and it probably isn’t in most public libraries. I was thinking about How I Know God Answers Prayer for next year, then suggested to Carrie that under the circumstances we might want to switch and do it this year: it’s shorter, there is a free Kindle version, and the text is online at Project Gutenberg. Though I am a little sad about not going forward with To the Golden Shore, I’d much rather choose a book that people will actually read. It seems from the comments Carrie and I both have received that this was a good decision. I do recommend To the Golden Shore to you: I apologize if you did go ahead and buy the book for this month’s discussion, but I feel sure you’ll find it worth the money and effort to read it.
Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth were pioneer missionaries to China at a time when foreign suspicion and distrust there reigned.
In the foreword of her little book How I Know God Answers Prayer, Rosalind shares how this book came to be:
When in Canada on our first furloughs I was frequently amazed at the incredulity expressed when definite testimony was given to an answer to prayer. Sometimes this was shown by an expressive shrug of the shoulders, sometimes by a sudden silence or turning of the topic of conversation, and sometimes more openly by the query: “How do you know that it might not have happened so, anyway?”
Gradually the impression deepened: “If they will not believe one, two, or a dozen testimonies, will they believe the combined testimonies of one whole life?”
The more I thought of what it would mean to record the sacred incidents connected with answers to prayer the more I shrank from the publicity, and from undertaking the task. There were dozens of answers far too sacred for the public eye, which were known only to a few, others known only to God. But if the record were to carry weight with those who did not believe in the supernatural element in prayer, many personal and scarcely less sacred incidents must of necessity be made public.
…It will be seen that these incidents of answered prayer are not given as being more wonderful, or more worthy of record, than multitudes the world over could testify to; but they are written and sent out simply and only because I had to write them or disobey God.
She goes on to do just that. Some of the answers to prayer are miraculous and monumental; some involve everyday concerns. Some are deeply personal, involving the depths of her own heart.
This was Rosalind’s first book, originally published in 1921. She went on to publish her husband’s biography, Goforth of China, in 1937, and then she was asked to share some of her own perspectives of life as a missionary wife in Climbing, one of my all-time favorite books, in 1940 (links are to my reviews). You’ll probably find her writing just a touch old-fashioned, but it is not hard to comprehend. She’s very transparent, and I’ve written before how it encouraging it is to find a woman “of like passions as we are” who found God’s grace to live for Him.
If you’ve never read of the Goforths, this will be a good introduction, and I hope you’ll go on to read her other books: if you have, it will be a good refresher.
If you’d like to read this book with us this month, you might let Carrie know here, and around the end of the month she’ll have a post where we can comment, share thoughts, or link up our review posts.