Sometimes in life we find ourselves in the midst of a series of events perceived as misfortunes. Often, however, God intends for these times, when it seems everything goes wrong, to bring us closer to Him.
Such was the case for Rosalind Goforth in the summer of 1900. She and her husband, Jonathan, had been ministering to the Chinese people since 1888, when the first of the “hurricane of horrors” struck. After previously losing three precious babies, seven-year-old Florence went to be safe in the arms of Jesus. While the presence of God was there to sustain, the pain was still very real. Only a few months following, the Goforth family was forced to flee China because of the Boxer Rebellion. Picture this missionary family hurrying to gather what little they could take with them, find passage on a crowded steamer, and keep track of five young children—and you might see the hardships of this time in their lives.
In the fall of 1901, Jonathan returned to China. Nine months later, Rosalind and the children (ages ten months to eleven years) were able to join him. Their two month journey was filled with trials, and through it Rosalind Goforth “learned what it meant to be carried through each day by Divine enabling.” Mid the stifling, crowded train ride to the coast, the children were exposed to whooping-cough. Reaching Calgary, they waited four days for a second train, then suddenly had only a half hour to get to the train station. Upon finally reaching the steamer, Mrs. Goforth discovered that three of her children had contracted whooping-cough. For most of their journey, this missionary went with little sleep, taking care of her sick children.
At long last, Shanghai was in sight; and soon, the entire family would be together again. But this reunion was not to be. Upon arrival, Mrs. Goforth discovered that her husband had typhoid and was over a thousand miles inland. They took refuge in the home of some friends for a week where Mrs. Goforth lay in a private room, trying to rest from the journey and prepare for what lay ahead. “As promise after promise from God’s wonderful Word was laid hold on, peace came; I RESTED and learnt by experience the truth of these words, ‘Underneath are the everlasting arms’” (Deuteronomy 33:27). That promise is what gave Rosalind Goforth strength to overcome. The everlasting arms of God have been sustaining His missionaries for centuries and will continue to do so until the trumpet calls us home!