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(Here’s one for all of you studying hard for exams right now! – Ed.)
Is it right that so much should rest on the results of High School or College exams? Is the future really determined by our present achievement? Can someone’s potential be accurately defined by success or failure in particular tests?
A century ago, a small lady named Gladys Aylward, who lived in London, was quite unable to pass exams. She was a parlour maid but she had a burning ambition to go to China as a Christian missionary. So she enrolled in a college for missionary training.
However, after a few weeks the Principal sent for her and gently suggested that she should go back to her work as a parlour maid. “We do not think you are equipped to study,” he explained.
Gladys was certain that God wanted her to go to China and so she decided to take herself there. She took extra cleaning and serving jobs until she had saved enough money to pay for a one-way ticket to China. She learned the local language and became a hard working witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, often on her own in remote villages, for many years.
One day, the Governor of the local prison in the Chinese town sent for Gladys in a hurry.
A riot had broken out in the prison and he wanted Gladys to come and stop the riot. “I can’t do that!” protested Gladys. “Why, they’ll kill me as well.”
The Governor looked puzzled. “How can that happen?” he inquired. “You tell us that the Living God is with you. God cannot die — so how can you?”
Th is was not the time for a theological debate. Quietly, Gladys waited for them to open the prison gates. She stepped inside. The scene was violent, blood everywhere, dead bodies. Sheremembered a Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Taking a deep breath, she yelled, “Stop it at once! Line up, here, in front of me!”
No schoolteacher was ever as successful as was Gladys! The noise stopped. So did the fighting. Those men came and stood in front of Gladys. With tears in her eyes she tried to share with them the power and the presence of Jesus.
Gladys Aylward had ambition. She had determination. She was not afraid of hard work. And, most of all, she had faith in God.
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