A Long Walk: Gladys’ Journey

A story is told of a determined young woman who was one of the great missionaries of her time. Gladys Aylward was a woman originally rejected for missionary service because she was a housemaid and didn’t have the education the missionary board was seeking. So she worked until she could get herself to China.

During a period of war in China, she took 100 orphaned  children from their war-ravaged homes to a safe area where they would have new homes. During this month-long walk, they suffered from hunger and thirst. Some arrived with bleeding feet as their footwear was not strong enough for the rugged climb over a mountainous terrain. Gladys gave her all as she cared for the children.[1]

Doesn’t it seem as if we are like those children on our own long journey? It’s especially difficult if these are indeed the end times. We are facing terrible trials, just as the children did, and what’s ahead only promises to become even more cumbersome. Gladys was told she was not capable of being a missionary, that she was not good enough. Aren’t there times when we also feel not good enough or strong enough to do the work God is calling us to do? Yet we know that if He calls us, He will do the work through us, so we take the next step and the next, with aching feet and hungry and thirsty hearts.

God has given us wonderful promises in Scripture. He says: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And again He says: “How can I give you up? … My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled” (Hosea 11:8). Like Gladys with her 100 orphaned children, God is even more committed to getting us to our new home, our new safe place. It may seem like a very long walk, but oh, what is waiting for us at the end of our own rugged climb is well worth the trip.

Does it seem as if we’re on the wrong path? All it takes is a turn to the right one. Just as the children looked to Gladys, let’s surrender our hearts and lives to God, the One who gave His life so that He could guide us home.

[1] “Heroes of the Faith. Gladys Aylward” Sam Wellman. 1998 Barbour Publishing, Inc.

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