If ever there was a tough little lady who didn’t know what she could not do, it was Gladys Alward. And, “Who is she?” you might ask. In the event that you have seen the movie (still available on the internet) The Inn of the Sixth Happiness featuring the Swedish actress, Ingrid Bergman, you would, at least, know her story. But actress Ingrid Bergman with her blond hair, rather imposing stature, and British accent falls far short of depicting both Gladys’s looks as well as her character.
Alward was a small woman, with dark hair, and a North London accent. But beyond that, the movie fails to accurately portray her life and what she did. In my book Heroes I tell her story which is actually far more exciting than Hollywood portrayed it. This remarkable woman little woman led several hundred Chinese orphans across mountain ranges during the Japanese invasion and occupation of China in World War 2.
One of her biographers wrote that Gladys Alward never kissed a man in her life, yet the film’s ending portrayed her as leaving the orphans she rescued to join a colonel who romanced her, even though in reality she did not retire from working with orphans until she was 60 years old. But, please indulge me, rather than talk about her life story, I’d like to tell you about the time that someone asked Gladys if she would not have preferred meeting the right person, falling in love, and settling down to raise a family. “Yes,” replied, Gladys. Then she went on to explain that there had been a time in her life when she prayed earnestly for a husband, but she then said, “I think God called him to come to China where we would have met and married, but he refused to heed the call of God!”
How many women have prayed for a husband and yet remained single. Some of the most miserable women I have ever met have been single missionaries who told me how they had gone overseas, fully expecting to meet someone and get married and they never met the right person. “Go home,” I would advise them. If you can’t be single and handle the frustration, pack up and go home. However, putting a wedding ring on the fourth finger of your left hand is no guarantee you will be happy.
Does God answer the prayers of singles who are asking Him to provide a mate? In many cases the answer is yes, but the caveat is that you can be single and miserable, and you can be married and miserable as well. You can joyfully single just as you can be miserably married!
“Why God?” Why haven’t you answered my prayer and given me what I asked for? How many have voiced that complaint. It was a single missionary whose name was Paul who wrote, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13).
A closing thought. Never forget, God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.
Resource Reading: Romans 8:31-38
Text: …for your Father knows what you need even before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – October 3, 2017