Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Goforth Nearing His Promotion
(Another excerpt in the life of Johnathan Goforth taken from www.wholesomewords.org and from the book Giants of the Missionary Trail by Scripture Press, 1954)
Those who, like Paul, have as their one sublime obsession the bringing of lost souls to Christ, are sure to endure many trials. It was so of Goforth. His trials included severe attacks of various diseases, intense suffering from chronic carbuncles, beatings at the hands of Chinese mobs, long periods of separation from his family and the burial of five of his children in China. Another sore trial arose in connection with his furlough visits to the home land, as he came to realize the appalling inroads of modernism and worldliness among the churches and the consequent apathy, even hostility, to his pleadings for missionary advance and a deeper work of the Spirit of God.
Speaking at the ministerial association of a certain city he told of the Spirit's quickening, purifying, energizing work in China. He made it clear that he was no special favorite of the Almighty, that the same God was ready to pour out His Spirit in blessed revivals in Canada and that it was the business of every minister to look to the Holy Spirit for revival in his own heart and among his people. He went on to point out that John Wesley and his colleagues were just ordinary men until their hearts were touched by the divine fire. At that point a noted Methodist minister interrupted him. "What, sir!" he exclaimed, "Do you mean to tell me that we don't preach better now than John Wesley ever did?" "Are you getting John Wesley's results?" Goforth asked.
The furlough of 1924 was spent chiefly in extended tours through the United States where he was enthusiastically received. His last years on the field were years of great harvest. Thousands were born into the kingdom and other thousands experienced the peace and power of the Spirit, as he traveled extensively in China and Manchuria. On a single day he baptized 960 soldiers. A number of thriving churches were established. All of this was accomplished in spite of many hardships and much pain. During the 1930-1931 furlough he lost the use of one eye and underwent many painful but fruitless operations in an attempt to restore his sight. During this time of illness he dictated the stirring stories found in Miracle Lives of China. All his teeth had to be extracted and he contracted a severe infection in his jaw. It was at this time, while pacing the floor and holding his jaw with his hands, that he dictated the material for his famous book, By My Spirit. In China he contracted a severe case of pneumonia while preaching to a packed audience of sneezing, coughing people in an unheated room in the dead of winter. In 1933 he lost the sight of the other eye. Even during winter blizzards he continued traveling and preaching. At Taonan he was led twice or three times daily through the deep snow and the storm to his appointments. A year later the Goforths returned to Canada because of a breakdown in Rosalind's health. Despite his blindness he traveled widely in Canada and the United States. Everywhere he went his soul was aglow with one message "the fullness of the Christ-life through the Holy Spirit's indwelling." Physical sight was gone but his life was as a "shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
That blessed day dawned for him in the early morning of October 8, 1936, as he slept. Just a few weeks before at the Ben Lippen conference in North Carolina the sightless veteran missionary said he rejoiced in the thought that the next face he would see would be that of his Savior.