Friday, September 30, 2005

Amy Carmichael: A breath may be a prayer

Amy Carmichael, the courageous mystic and missionary to India, is one of my favorite persons, a true heroine of the faith…her brilliant life burned like a star across the darkened sky of history, one who counted the cost to attain the calling…of her true self and her God. I could sing her praises on so many levels, but will let her own words praise her -- were she alive, she would not take human praise anyway. In one of her little books, "His Thoughts Said... His Father Said..." she has riveting dialogues between a human and God. Of course, the words are from her own conversation with God: she uses a generic masculine pronoun for subject, out of deep spiritual humility. But the words are hers, so I recount them here, using “her” rather than “his.” For me, it is not a matter of humility, but rather authenticity. She was the spiritual person of this dialogue – it is disingenuous to pretend otherwise. May her words and person inspire you in your own relation with God!

Leave that book

Her thoughts said, “I have been reading a spiritual book and I am confused and tired with trying to understand.”

Her Father said, “Leave that book and read the Book that thou lovest best; thou wilt find it much simpler.”

Two flies

Her thoughts said, “When I would seek Him whom my soul loveth, confusions like flies buzz about me.”

Her Father said, “Press through these confusions as thou wouldest press through a swarm of gnats. Take no notice of them. Be not stayed by them. Be not occupied with them. Be not entangled by them.”

Ye shall be trusted

The daughter knew that if she came to serve the Lord she must prepare her soul for temptation; but she had never expected the particular temptation that confronted her now.

Her Father asked her if she had expected to choose her temptations. The daughter said, “No,” but she longed to have done with temptation for ever!

Her Father said, “One day it shall be so.” “As a dream when one awaketh, so it will be… But thou must learn to endure and to conquer. Blessed is the one who endureth temptation.”

And He told her of hidden manna prepared for the overcomer. “Watch for the hidden manna,” He said, “It will come in hidden ways.”

Then to the daughter it was given to taste of the manna hidden in a word she had not found before: ‘Put your trust in the Lord God, and you shall be trusted.’ The daughter was greatly delighted with that word, and she prayed that she might be made worthy of so great a thing as the trust of her Father!

A breath may be a prayer

Her thoughts said, “Suddenly a question is asked, suddenly a decision must be made. The answer and the decision affect the lives of others. In me is no wisdom at all. Sometimes it is as if I could not even pray.”

Her Father said, “A breath may be a prayer; I hide not Mine ear at thy breathing. But be a simple child with Me. Ask for the thing you need most. I will not upbraid you. [I will not criticize you.] If any lack wisdom, let her ask. And as thou goest on thy way thou shalt do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. Do you lack strength? The Lord of hosts will be strength to them that turn the battle at the gate.”

Wearied with His journey

Her thoughts said, “I could do better work for my Lord if it were not that I'm tired. I am tired of being tired.”

Her Father said, “Jesus, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well. Are you not willing to be wearied with your journey? Many are wearied in the service of self, the world, earthly glory -- you are loosed from that bondage. Rejoice in the liberty to be weary for God's sake, the One who loved you and gave Himself for you. Abide in His love, and you will learn to give as He gave, even in weariness; to live as He lived, more than conqueror over the flesh.”

The age-long minute

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou are the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?
Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?



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