On our first arrival home [on furlough from China], many requests came for my husband to take meetings. When it became known that he could not, I was urged to take his place. But the months of ceaseless overland travel through Inland China with my husband, who was evidently breaking, the nursing, and the anxiety, had all told on me. I felt physically worn, spiritually dead, mentally numb. But deep in my heart I craved for some fresh spiritual blessing, for fresh vision that might enable me to speak once more out of an overflowing hear.
How true, how very true is the sentiment express in the following lines:
Thy soul must overflowThe tender, loving Lord saw just what His child needed and once again worked for her beyond all she could ask or think.
If thou another soul woulds’t reach;
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech!
We had been but a short time at the Rest Home when a friend carried me off, insisting that I needed a rest. She took me to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where a Bible conference was being held. There I found myself in a beautiful hotel room with my friends near by. The following morning we gathered under some trees by the auditorium, before the meeting. The scenery was wonderful to me after poor, dried-up China. Through the trees could be glimpsed the beautiful Niagara River flowing down till it entered the lake. Begging my friends to leave me there, I gave myself to the exquisite enjoyment of my surroundings.
A short time passed. Suddenly there came an impelling to enter the auditorium. I obeyed, but the place being full, I walked forward and finally found a seat immediately in front of the pulpit. The speaker was just beginning his address. He was a stranger, but from almost his first sentence his message gripped me.
He drew simply but vividly, first a picture of an ordinary, all to common Christian life. If he had drawn the picture from my everyday life experience, he could not have given it other than he did. Sometimes on the mountain-top with visions of God and His mighty power; then the sagging, the dimming of vision, coldness, discouragement, even definite disobedience and a time of down-grade experience. Again through some sorrow or trial, there would come a return and seeking of the Lord, with again the higher Christian experiences. In a word, an up and down life of intermingled victory and defeat.
The speaker then asked all who truly sought for God’s highest and best, yet who knew the picture he had drawn was true of their Christian life and experience, to hold up their hands. Being in the front seat and realizing many behind knew who I was, and that they thought of me as a “good missionary,” I kept my hand down. It was too humiliating to acknowledge that picture as representing me! But the Spirit of God strove with me. “If you keep your hand down, you are a hypocrite! If you truly want God’s best, humble yourself.” So up went my hand.
Then the speaker drew another picture: it was the Christian life as God had not only planned it for His children, but had made abundant provision for their living it. He described it as a life of Victory, not defeat, of peace and trust, not struggle and worry. All through his address, I kept thinking, “Yes, it’s wonderful, but I’ve tried so often and failed, I doubt if it is possible.” Then the speaker ended by urging us to go over the texts listed on a slip of paper to be given free at the close off the meeting. He emphasized the importance of standing on God’s Word.
The following morning I rose early, as soon as it was light enough to see. On my knees, I read from the list I have mentioned, all the texts given. But before I had gone half way done the list, I saw clearly God’s Word taught, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the overcoming, victorious life in Christ is the normal life God has planned for His children. In the two days that followed, clearer light came, with dawning hope that this life might be possible for me.
The day after reaching home, I picked up the little booklet, The Life That Wins, and, going to my son’s bedside, I asked him to allow me to read the booklet aloud, as it was the personal testimony of Charles G. Trumbull, editor of the “Sunday School Times,” the man who had been a great blessing to me at the conference.
As I began to read, quite a number gathered around, listening with deep interest. I read on till I came to the words: “At last I realized that Jesus Christ was actually and literally within me.” I stopped amazed. The sun seemed suddenly to come from under a cloud and flood my soul with light! How blind I had been! I saw as in a flash the secret of victory. It was just Jesus Christ Himself!
But the thought of victory was for the moment lost sight of in the inexpressible joy of the new vision and realization of Christ.
For days I seemed as I in a dream. Fearing lest I be, as it were, “carried off my feet,” by what had come to me, I determined to seek the advice of one, who had for many years been our beloved and honored foreign missionary secretary, Rev. Dr. R. P. McKay listened sympathetically while I told all. I ended by saying, “Do you think I am going too far in this? I have just sent off to missionaries in China fifty copies of the booklet, The Life That Wins.”
Dr. McKay smiled as he replied, “No, Mrs. Goforth, for I have just sent out to ministers and others several hundred copies of the same booklet.”
Then he gravely added: “Mrs. Goforth, I am amazed; amazed that you have only now come to apprehend this truth of Christ’s indwelling. You have been the wife of Jonathan Goforth for many years. His messages were aglow with this truth. It is the Holy of Holies of our Christian Faith.”
“Yes, Dr. McKay,” I replied humbly, “I begin to realize this and wonder at my blindness. One sentence my husband so often uses has come back to me these days: All the resources of the Godhead are at our disposal!”
"The Life That Wins" has been expanded into the book Victory in Christ. I give it away to many people each month. Please read it for yourself. If you cannot afford a copy, let me know.