Today’s Bible reading
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. — Psalm 34:18-22 (KJV)
More thoughts for meditation about Amy Carmichal
Amy Carmichal (1867-1951) was a well-known missionary during the first half of the 20th century. Her 35 books are loved by thousands.
She was born into a well-to-do, Northern Ireland, Christian family. In her teen years, she was educated at a Wesleyan Methodist boarding school; and at age 13, while still in boarding school, she accepted Christ as Savior. When she was age 18, her father died, leaving the family in difficult financial circumstances as he had given a large personal loan that was not repaid. The family moved to Belfast. There she became involved in visiting in the slums, and seeing the terrible conditions under which many women and girls worked in the factories, she began a ministry with these women. It was a work based on faith alone in God, and He met the needs in most remarkable ways.
She became acquainted with the Keswick Movement, and it was there that she learned of a close, deeper walk with the Lord. One of the leaders of the Keswick Movement, Mr. Wilson, a widower, asked her to come and live in his home and be his secretary. She learned much from that employment. She remembered on one occasion at Keswick where Mr. Moody had preached and afterwards was talking with Mr. Wilson when he stopped in mid sentence. He had just preached on the prodigal son where the father had said to the older son “Son, thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine.” Mr. Moody said, “I never saw it before. Oh, the love of God’s love. Oh, the love. God’s love.” Tears rained down his cheeks. Amy never forgot that spiritual truth-“All that I have is thine.” It reinforced her faith that God knew her needs before she asked and wanted to supply them by faith.
She received a “Macedonian call” in 1892 at the age of 24; and the following year, as the first appointee of the Keswick’s missions committee, she went to Japan. But there and elsewhere she met with disappointments. She left for Japan for Ceylon, went back to England, and then India, where she caught dengue fever. She saw in the missionary community in India that the church was very active but there were no changed lives. She detested the meetings with the other missionary ladies-drinking tea and gossiping, again showing very little concern for the eternal souls of those about them. She felt so alone. One day as she fell to her knees in despair, a verse that she had learned long before floated into her memory: “He that trusteth in me shall never be desolate,” and she found that to be true throughout her long life of ministry in India. In reflection, she wrote:
Onward Christian soldiers,
Sitting on the mats;
Nice and warm and cozy
Like little pussycats.
Onward Christian soldiers,
Oh, how brave are we,
Don’t we do our fighting
She left Bangalore for South India and with the daughter of her host family and several Christian Indian ladies, began an itinerant ministry through the villages in Tamil Nadu. They were dubbed the “starry cluster,” for the Indians recognized the sincerity and light that shown forth from them. The members of the band had no salary but looked to God to supply needs. Their attitude was “How much can I do without that I may have more to give?” It was during this period of time that she took on the habit of wearing Indian dress, which she continued throughout her lifetime.
A life-changing experience took place in 1901. A little five-year-old girl, named Pearl Eyes by Amy, was brought to her by an Indian woman. The child had been sold by the mother to the temple, and there she was being prepared and taught all the degradation of temple prostitution. Twice she had run away only to be caught, carried back, beaten, and subjected to the terrible perversion of that Hindu temple. Finally, as she was running away again at night, she met with this understanding woman who brought her to Amy, who gathered the child up into her lap and picked up the rag doll and gave it to the child to play with. It was then that she really truly understood the evil of the temple practice. Little Pearl Eyes talked freely as she played with the doll. She told Amy things that they did to her in the temple, demonstrating them using the doll. The date was March 7, 1901. Amy never forgot that day nor the child’s story. It was terrible beyond imagination. This was the beginning of her rescue of these children who had been dedicated to the temple gods. This incident led to the founding of the Dohnavur Fellowship. In 1918, they began to rescue baby boys, for they likewise were dedicated to the temple gods and goddesses. Other areas of the work over the years were added such as hospital, schools, printing, etc. Amy was not understood by many of the missionaries in India. She was also greatly resented by the Hindu priests and was frequently taken to court on charges of being a kidnapper.
In 1931 Amy had a fall that left her an invalid for the remainder of her life, and she seldom left her bed. It was during this period of her life that she was most prolific in writing. Occasionally someone would wheel her in a type of wheelchair out onto a veranda where her children would gather outside and greet her and sing to her.
Amy was very self-effacing-would never allow her photograph to be taken and never referred to herself by name or personal pronoun in her writings.
Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another’s life, another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.
Suggestions for action
Amy Carmichal’s life reflect a conviction that we should give our “utmost” for God’s “highest.” Her convictions led her to do very unusual things, especially for a woman in her time. She would want you to ponder whether you are receiving the sanctification from God that sets you about for your best work on the Lord’s behalf. She would want her example to move you to consider how you should shine God’s light and be a conduit for God’s compassion. The whole world is your mission field, even if you end up in a wheelchair!