Gladys Aylward was born in London in 1904. She worked for several years as a parlor maid, and then attended a revival meeting at which the preacher spoke of dedicating one's life to the service of God. Gladys responded to the message, and soon after became convinced that she was called to preach the Gospel in China.
At the age of 26, she became a probationer at the China Inland Mission Center in London, but was failed to pass the examinations. Then she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted if she could get to China.
She did not have enough money for the ship fare, but did have enough for the train fare, and so in October of 1930 she set out from London with her passport, her Bible, her tickets, and two pounds nine pence, to travel to China by the Trans-Siberian Railway, despite the fact that China and the Soviet Union were engaged in an undeclared war.
Gladys Aylward, parlor maid from England, became one of the most famous missionaries of the twentieth century, a woman that has been called "the most noted single woman missionary in modem history." A popular biography about her was made into a movie and she dined with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. But the most notable thing about Gladys was her brokenness, her humility, and her willingness to be available to God.
She once said, "I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China. There was somebody else ... I don't know who it was? God's first choice. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing ... And God looked down . . . and saw Gladys Aylward."
The Lord is not looking for ability, He is looking for availability. He desires a humble heart that says: "Here I am Lord, send me!" Today in prayer, thank Christ for His love for you and desire to serve Him with a humble attitude.
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
-1 Peter 5:5 (New International Version)
Dear Lord, We pray that we will not only be available to do your work but that we will be humble also as we serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.