"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

Book Review: Isobel Kuhn

Determination.  Courage.  Sacrifice.

After reading the biography of Isobel Kuhn, I am left asking myself what sacrifices I have made in serving God.  Born in Canada in 1901, Isobel, also known as Belle, grew up in a Christian home, but rebelled against the thought of simply accepting what her parents said as truth.  After tough break up, she fell into depression and when she was at the end of her rope, called out to God.  Immediately, He answered her prayer, and she began to seek after God.  Soon she understood the Gospel from the Scriptures and put her faith in Christ.  Her early walk with God had its struggles, but she continued to grow.  In 1923, Belle decided to go wherever God would call her.  The next summer she first heard of the Lisu people in China from J. O. Fraser of the China Inland Mission.  Over the next few years she continued her education and God continued to teach her and provide for her.  She met a young man named John Kuhn, who was also going to China and soon they became engaged.

In 1928, Belle sailed for China.  During the 22 years she lived there, she had the joy of seeing many of the Lisu people turn from serving demons to serving the living God.  She continued to grow and mature in Christ.  She saw many prayers answered and many miracles that God performed.  She gave birth to two children who grew up loving God.  She saw the completion of the Lisu New Testament.  She successfully carried on a Bible school program for the Lisu.  And she was able to go in to Thailand later for three years where she also saw many people put their faith in Christ.

But all this didn't come without discouragement and pain.  She struggled with the primitive living - bed bugs, no plumbing, filth.  She was often very sick - sometimes on the verge of death.  Traveling was dangerous - not just from robbers, but from nature - landslides, steep drop offs.  She had to send her daughter to boarding school a long ways away.  While she was there, Japan attacked China, and Communism began to take over.  She had to deal with soldiers and rebels.  The Japanese captured the school her daughter was in - and it would be six years before Belle would ever see her again.  Her young son was sick - and almost died.  She was often separated from her husband for months at a time as they both ministered to the Lisu.

But Belle wasn't the only one with trials.  The Lisu who became Christians were also willing to sacrifice their desires in order to serve God.  One man, after being away from his fiancĂ© for two years evangelizing, came back only to be asked to go on a six month mission to another tribe.  Unhesitatingly, he agreed.  God came first.  Another man was needed to go help a missionary couple.  He promptly agreed to go - even though his first child had just been born.  Others died - sharing their faith with their family and friends right up to the end.

Despite all the trials, Belle pushed on, determined to obey God no matter the cost.  Her story is a challenge to me.  Am I willing to follow God no matter what it will cost me?  Even if it means sickness, threats, separation from my loved ones?  I'm thankful for the stories of those who have gone before us, who were faithful to their God.  Who put His desires above their own.  They are an example to us.

"Few, without the hope of another life, 
would think it worth their while to live above the allurements of the senses."
 ~ Francis Atterbury, 17th century

"What are men to rocks and mountains?"

"'My dear, dear aunt,' she rapturously cried, 'what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. We will know where we have gone - we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers, shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.'" ~Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice