Thursday, July 17, 2008

An Experience of Life being Transformed by God

I have been asked to write a short piece on the above title. I thought I would blog it here to mark my return! Those who have read the personal Journey series of blogs will recognize some of it!

An Experience of Life being Transformed by God

‘Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ (St Matthew 7:7-8)

Isobel Selina Miller Kuhn was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 17, 1901. She graduated from university with a degree in English and qualified as a teacher in Canada before attending Bible School in the States. On October 11, 1928 she set sail on a passenger ship from Vancouver to China as a missionary with the China Inland Mission. She was to marry another misssionary and together they served in Yunnan in south-west China until forced to leave by the Communist authorities in 1950. She went on to serve in the north of Thailand until she contracted cancer dying on March 20, 1957.

Isobel was to have a ministry far beyond China, however, through the various books she wrote both about her own spiritual journey and her missionary experiences. The most famous of these is, By Searching. Little would she have known the effect it would have on one young teenager from Liverpool some 12 years after her death. I grew up in Liverpool and first started thinking seriously about Christinaity as a student at secondary school.

As a teenager, I was looking for answers and yet there seemed to be more questions than answers. It just did not seem to be working for me. Then one day while looking for something in a cupboard at home an old battered book with no covers fell out onto the floor, literally right in front of me. I picked it up and started to read. In it, Isobel spoke about how we find God ‘by searching’ and that God reveals himself to those who seek him and who go on seeking him. It was a message I needed to hear, and it encouraged me to continue my own personal search for God.

I never thought that my search would lead me to China. I had always assumed that my ministry would be in the UK, but as Isobel wrote we never know where our seeking after God will lead us. Isobel had one rule in life that guided her on her own journey and it was ‘in his will is our peace’. It is only when we are on God’s pathway that we will have peace: wherever it may lead.

A Prayer

Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being, thou hast made us for thyself, so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee; grant us purity of heart and strenght of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, no weakness from doing it; but that in thy light we may see light, and in thy service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (St Augutsine)

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