The one thing we need is to know God better. Not in ourselves, not in our prospects, not in heaven itself are we to rejoice, but in the Lord. If we know Him, then we rejoice in what He gives and not because we like it, if pleasing, not because we think it will work good, if trying, but because it is His gift, His ordering; and the like in what He withholds or takes away.
Oh, to know Him! Well might Paul, who had caught a glimpse of His glory, count ‘all things’ as dung and dross compared with this most precious knowledge! This makes the weak strong, the poor rich, the empty full; this make suffering happiness, and turns tears into diamonds as the sunshine turns dew into pearls. This makes us fearless, invincible.
If we know God, then when full of joy we can thank our heavenly Father, the Giver of all; when we feel no joy we can thank Him for that, for it is our Father’s ordering. When we are with those we love, we can thank Him; when we yearn for those we love, we can thank Him. The hunger that helps us to feel our need, the thirst that helps us to drink, we can thank Him for; for what are food or drink without appetite, or Christ to a self-contented, circumstance-contented soul?
Oh to know Him! How good, how great, how glorious – our God and Father, our God and Savior, our God and Sanctifier – to know him! Pray on and labor on. Don’t be afraid of the toil; don’t be afraid of the cross; they will pay well.”
J. Hudson Taylor, letter to a missionary, quoted in Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, Volume Two: The Growth of a Work of God, 202.