Amy Carmichael was just twenty-seven when she left home. Young, attractive, vivacious — and single — she turned her heart toward India and turned her back on Britain.
She never returned.
Amy spent the next fifty years as a missionary living among the lower castes of India. During those five decades she raised an adopted family that included 1,858 girls and 670 boys.
- She rescued children from a life of temple prostitution.
- She nursed the sick.
- She comforted the dying.
- She educated the ignorant.
- She taught these young people to know and serve God.
This was 1895 to 1951. These were days of difficult travel, poor nutrition, little medicine, and no air conditioning. To Amy they were "minor inconveniences" and were met with the happy determination and loving devotion to God that fueled her days. She would press on.
I learned about this fascinating woman reading Amy Carmichael "Beauty For Ashes," Iain H. Murray's concise and enlightening biography of the missionary to India.
What can be said of a woman who left the happiness of home at twenty-seven and never returned? What can be said of one who sacrificed the comfort of the familiar for the calling of the faith? What can be said of one who gave up the possibility of having a family of her own to invest her days in the lives of 2,528 boys and girls?
You could say, as one biographer has said, “She loved much.” Amy would say, “I was loved much.”
“All our love flows from His heart of love. We are like little pools on the rocks at Joppa. You know how we have watched the great sea washing over them and flooding them till they overflow. That is what the love of God does for us. We have no love in ourselves, and our pools would soon be empty if it were not for that great, glorious, exhaustless sea of love.”
Iain H. Murray says, "Love in us starts on God's side." Amy knew this. She believed to her core the words of John, "We love him because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
That love, born of the Father, is energizing but not automatic. Were it automatic, John would not say, "Beloved, let us love one another." Carmichael knew this.
The love of God gripped her. It transformed her. It flowed out of her. But it did not come automatically. People were still hard to love. There were days she did not feel like loving everyone in her path. I suspect that is why she made this prayer, learned from Jeremy Taylor, her daily petition:
This was Jeremy's prayer. Then it was Amy's. Today, why not make it yours?
- She raised an adopted family from Amy Carmichael: "Beauty For Ashes" by Iain Murray. Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust. 2015. Page xv-xvi.
- "She loved much" Frank Houghton, Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur, The Story of a Lover and her Beloved, 1953, page 105, quoted in Amy Carmichael: "Beauty For Ashes" by Iain Murray. Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust. 2015. Page 137.
- "All our love . . ." from Frank Houghton, Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur, The Story of a Lover and her Beloved, 1953, page 348, quoted in Amy Carmichael: "Beauty For Ashes" by Iain Murray. Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust. 2015. Page 135.
- "Love in us starts on God's side" from Murray, page 135.
- "Lord, do Thou turn me . . ." from Murray, page 137.