Brain fatigue, nervous exhaustion, near collapse, depression.… Those were the terms Methodist missionary Stanley Jones used to describe his deteriorating condition. He had gone to India with visionary passion, but his energy had evaporated amid unbearable heat, hostility, and anxiety. He felt himself unraveling.
His doctor prescribed a year’s rest in America, but he collapsed aboard ship while trying to speak at a Sunday morning service at sea and barely made it home. Once there, Jones tried to rest, but his nerves crackled like a short-circuiting electrical connection. He insisted on returning to India a year later, but he no sooner landed in Bombay than he collapsed again and was sent to the mountains for several more months of rest and relaxation. Finally returning to work, Jones quickly used up his meager emotional reserves and was plunged again into depression and debilitation. Friends feared for his life.
It was in this state that Jones traveled to the city of Lucknow to conduct a series of meetings. There one night while praying, he suddenly felt the Lord speaking to him. Though not audible, the Lord’s voice almost seemed so. Jones sensed these words: Are you yourself ready for this work to which I have called you?
“No, Lord, I am done for,” Jones replied. “I have reached the end of my resources.”If you will turn that over to Me and not worry about it, I will take care of it.
“Lord,” Jones said, “I close the bargain right here.”
At that moment, E. Stanley Jones later said, a great peace settled into his heart and pervaded his whole being. “I knew it was done! Life—Abundant Life—had taken possession of me. I was so lifted up that I scarcely touched the road as I quietly walked home that night. Every inch was holy ground. For days after that I hardly knew I had a body. I went through the days, working far into the night, and came down to bedtime wondering why in the world I should ever go to bed at all, for there was not the slightest trace of tiredness of any kind. I seemed possessed by life and peace and rest—by Christ Himself.”
Jones labored on for decades, serving over forty years in India, preaching around the world—sometimes three times a day, writing a dozen books, and becoming one of the most famous missionaries of his generation.
From his evening encounter with the Lord at Lucknow until his death in January, 1973, E. Stanley Jones lived in the glow of the sufficiency of Christ Himself, never forgetting the Lord’s promise, If you turn that over to Me and not worry about it, I will take care of it.