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Love and Trust by Amy Carmichael
All the passages below are taken from the book, “Candle in the Dark” by Amy Carmichael, printed in 1981 with this edition printed in 2001.
Amy Carmichael was born in Northern Ireland and after a brief period in Japan arrived in India on 9 November 1895 as a Keswick missionary. She never left India till her death in Dohnavur on 18 January 1951. At first she worked in the villages of South India. Then in 1901 she began to make a home for children in need of protection and care. Others came to help her and the Dohnavur Fellowship was born---named after the village in which it is situated. For fifty years she was Mother ('Amma') to an ever-increasing family and saw many of her children grow up to serve the Lord by serving others.
In 1931 an accident led to illness and increasing physical limitations. For the last years of her life she was confined to bed, but her indomitable spirit never failed. She continued to counsel and encourage all who came to see her and wrote many books and innumerable letters.
The following letters, written with no thought of publication, have been selected from many hundreds treasured by members of the Dohnavur Fellowship, either her colleagues or her Indian children. Her power to help those in need came from her times of listening to her Lord. `Sometimes,' she wrote, `it is as if another Hand were turning over the pages of my Bible and finding the places for me.' Her language is steeped in the older versions of the Bible (she died before many of the modern translations appeared), and a lifetime spent in India gave her an Indian mode of thought.
`Pray for me, that the Lord would give me house room again to hold a candle to this dark world', wrote Samuel Rutherford, and this was Amy's prayer. It is our prayer too, as we share the riches she passed on to us through her close personal walk with the Lord and utter devotion to Him.
B. M. G. TREHANE
Dohnavur Fellowship [ix-x]
Love and Trust
More and more I feel that love
is the golden secret of life.
The very air of heaven is love,
for God is love and love never fails.
So go on loving not only the loveless
but the unlovable, the difficult,
the perplexing, the disappointing---
unto the end.
All round us is the great, dark, unloving world. How very few care for our Saviour; even those who are called by His name sometimes offer Him a very cold kind of affection. He said on the cross, I thirst, and even now His love is athirst for love.
Form the habit of using everything that speaks of His presence to remind you of Him, and as you are so reminded, lift up your heart in loving adoration. `Lord, I love Thee; I who am dust of Thy dust, I love Thee; I worship Thee; I adore Thee.'
If only you do this, then of one thing I am sure. You will not only love one another so tenderly that unkindness will be impossible, but every man, woman and child who comes to you will feel some touch of His kindness. Love will flow round everyone and far beyond---who can tell how far? And best of all, there will be refreshment for Him as of a drink of cool water on a hot day.
Trust God's love
I have been thinking of 1 John 4:16, which in one translation says, `We have come to understand and to trust the love which God hath in us.' We can never fully understand that love, but we can begin to understand it even here and now, and as we understand we trust. This means that we trust all that the love of God does; all He gives and does not give, all He says and all He does not say. To it all we say, by His most loving enabling, I trust.
Here is a little song; it is my gift to you all.
Father of spirits, this my sovereign plea
I bring again and yet again to Thee.
Fulfil me now with love, that I may know
A daily inflow, daily overflow.
For love, for love, my Lord was crucified,
With cords of love He bound me to His side.
Pour through me now; I yield myself to Thee,
0 Love that led my Lord to Calvary.
Double, my love
As I think of you I think of words written by one who warred and suffered about six hundred years ago, Raymond Lull. `Say, 0 Lover,' asked the Beloved, `if I double thy trials, wilt thou still be patient?' `Yea,' answered the Lover, `so that Thou double also my love.' I am quite sure that the Beloved will double the love of His Lover, if at any time He doubles the trials.
I think also of those words in Hebrews that go to the depths of all suffering and `speak to our condition' when no others seem to touch us: Hebrews 2:10, `For it became Him . . . in bringing many sons unto glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.' I am writing on the day after you knew that this joy of joys had been given to you---the joy, I mean, of bringing a dear child into the way of glory.
I give you Hebrews 10:35, 36 for the worst days that will ever come. `Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.' I commit you to Him who bequeathed His peace to us just before He faced His cross. I commit you to Him who is your best beloved. He will never leave thee nor forsake thee; the work of righteousness (which is obedience) shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
Dictated, for her family
I don't find it easy to be without writing to you. One morning I found myself saying, `Lord, it is very hard to be silent when one loves.' Then suddenly I remembered the words we know so well, Zephaniah 3:17 RV margin, `He will be silent in His love'. Love in silence is often the deepest love of all.
Another thought has brought comfort to me. Sometimes things are allowed to happen so that the quiet power of our Lord to arrange and rearrange events according to His purpose may be shown. The priests did not want Him to be arrested before the feast was over, but He had planned otherwise. `After two days', He said to His disciples, `the Passover cometh and the Son of Man is delivered to be crucified.' And so it was. He, not the Priests, decided the order of events. Even so, all through the confusions of life, the quiet purpose of the Lord is fulfilled and nothing can upset it.
It is a splendidly reassuring truth for us, who do truly want His way. There is quietness and assurance in the calmness of our Lord. Although things have been difficult for some of you, His peaceful purpose has been carried out.
Not being able to write has meant much more time spent with God for you, each one separately. It is as if I were with you far more truly than in the flesh, and there has sometimes been a power given to hold you and all your needs steadily in the presence of the Lord. It is good that we have such an understanding God. This little note only tells you what you know, that I am with you in spirit, loving you all more than ever, if that can be.
Free to love
A few minutes ago I read words that sum up my desires for
you: 1 Thessalonians 3:12, `The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we also do toward you.' I do indeed know that increasing and abounding love, but the words `toward all men' I want specially to be true of you.
This poor world is a cold place to many. I pray that no one who comes to us may ever feel chilled here, but rather that all chilliness may melt, melted by the blessed glow of heavenly love made manifest. Don't let us ever be afraid of being too loving. We can never love enough.
So I pray, `Lord, keep all my children free to love. Never let the slightest shade of suspicion shadow any heart. Help each to think the best of every other. Through all the chances and changes of life, hold all together in tender love. Let nothing quench love. Let nothing cool it. Keep every thread of the gold cord unbroken, unweakened, even unto the end. 0 my Lord, Thou Loving One, keep my beloveds close together in Thy love for ever.'
I have a canary all by himself in a big cage in my room. His name is Cymbal because he sings beautifully. But he can't get on with other canaries. That is why he is alone in my room. He doesn't like to sing with them, or eat with them, or play with them.
Is there anyone with whom you don't get on? With whom you don't like to work, or play, or do anything? Perhaps you haven't actually quarrelled, but if you can avoid it if you don't talk together, and you don't care to pray together.
If there be such a one, will you do this? Every day will you name that one to your Lord? (Don't mention faults, but just ask for a blessing.) I do earnestly ask you to do this. Will you do it?
The heavenly river
Yes, the wings of anxious thought must be let down if we are to hear His peaceful words. I have been reading some of them this morning in Romans 8. Those blessed words about love remind me of what you say. We need never, never fear that the stream of love will run dry. The heavenly river, the river of God which is full of water, never will. And so, as drop by drop we seem to be drained dry, it is only seeming. It isn't really so. It cannot be so. For more love is perpetually pouring through us, `love instead of love'.
Your friend will find it so. All will seem to be used up, all strength, all that she has to give, and then more will come. She will reign in life---another of the words in Romans that are fathomless.
But I know well that these are hard days. His were hard. We don't want ease when He had rough ways. She is tired for His name's sake. Jesus being weary sat there on the well. How glad we shall be afterwards that we were allowed to be weary for Him.
Yes, love is a glorious thing, new every morning. There is nothing to fear if there is love. `Lord, do Thou turn me all into love, and all my love into obedience. And let my obedience be without interruption.' (Saint Augustine)
God wants lovers
You will, I believe and trust, become more and more in love with a crucified Saviour. He wants lovers. Oh how tepid is the love of so many who call themselves by His name. How tepid our own---my own---in comparison with the lava fires of His eternal love. I pray that you may be an ardent lover, the kind of lover who sets others on fire.
For a birthday
The Lord bless you. Everything I want to say is in that prayer. I have been reading St John. `He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.'
So I ask for this mighty thing for you, the `conscious experience of love' (Westcott), the clearness of His all-but-seen presence, something far, far more than we are usually satisfied with. We are only at the edge of the sea; oh, to swim out into the sunrise!
Now may that satisfying love enfold you.
Our most precious possession
I want to ask you to be very careful about love; it is our most precious possession. Don't let it be weakened anywhere. Be loving. Be courteous to one another. I have known some who thought that if one loved one could be rude. Love is never rude. Look not on your own things but on the things of others. What can you do today to make someone happy? Do that.
Now God bless you all. I shall be loving you to the end---and there is no end to love.
God gives love
God gives love; it isn't in us to love. I don't naturally love people I don't know (and I don't naturally love all the people I do know!). Love is of God and from God, and He pours it into our hearts if we let Him.
Our Lord did not say, `Go ye into all the world if you feel an ardent flame of love to all the people in it.' He just said, `Go ye', and as we obey He gives us all we need to lead them to Him. And of course as we most of all need love, He gives it to us.
So fear not. God hath given us a spirit not of fear, but of power and of love and of discipline.
To one in need
Are you getting plenty of quiet with God? Remember the words I so often quote from Jeanne De Chantal. `We cannot measure the love He showers on souls who give and abandon themselves to Him, and who have no higher aspiration than to do all that they believe to be pleasing to Him.' If only we live so, then there can be nothing to fear; we shall radiate peace and joy and love, and the shout of a King will be ever among us.
You often remind me of myself. Too much of your nature is exposed to the winds that blow upon it. You and I both need to withdraw more and more into the secret place with God. Do you know what I mean, I wonder?
Operations have been going on gaily here, and on Monday some boys had tonsils and adenoids done. Among them was N., a nervous little fellow. Just before he went to the theatre he said to one of the others (recalling an illustration given in a children's service a fortnight before): `When I lie down on the table I will do this' (and he touched the fingers on one hand, spelling T-R-U-S-T, and then he touched the fingers on his other hand, spelling J-E-S-U-S and I will clasp my hands, and I will wake up smiling.'
They tell me this is exactly what he did. He clasped his hands, went to sleep most peacefully and woke up as he said he would, smiling. Rather nice, wasn't it? These operations have been a great test of character, and the thing is to smile the first minute one can. But to `wake up smiling' was a new idea.
To one caring for boys
After baptism when Satan attacks, it is easy for a boy to become discouraged, and you also will be tempted to be discouraged. But go on hoping. Again and again when I had all but lost hope I used to go to the God of Hope and ask for the gift of hope. Never be shaken in hope. Never be cooled in love. Never get tired of loving and hoping---yes, and believing.
Our Lord has long patience. We too must have long patience, for souls can't be hurried. He whom we follow, having loved His own, loved them unto the end. May His love fill us, strengthen us, be in us hope and faith and patience---yes, and joyful expectation. We shall reap---you will reap---if we faint not.
One can't help anyone whom one doesn't love enough to bear with, even as our angels bear with us. We must be most trying to them at times.
`Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them' (Psalm 119:165). Yesterday I had a new little lesson in this. I couldn't think or do anything, and hardly realizing what I was about I kept on repeating inside, over and over, `Why can't I think? Why can't I do?' At last I opened Kay, which was on my book-rest, and the book opened at Psalm 37:7, 'Be silent to the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.' Be silent. Don't ask questions. 0 rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him. `The silence is that of tranquil faith' is Kay's note.
So I shall ask for you tranquil faith, radiant peace. `They looked unto Him and were radiant.' That radiance does not depend upon circumstances.
Amy's last word
As Amy's life drew to a close, writing of any kind became impossible. Her last letter, undated, was written in pencil in large, sprawling letters which straggled across the page. [99-115]
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