by Mike Stroope

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), born in Northern Ireland, went to Japan at the age of 26. She stayed 15 months, became ill and returned to England. With every reason to stay in her homeland, she determined to spend her life overseas among those who had never heard of Jesus Christ and in service to God's glory. In November 1895, she ventured onward to India where she spent the next 55 years.

In her early years, Amy worked in the villages of southern India. Later, she established a home for children in need of care and protection from abuse. For fifty years she was affectionately known as "Amma" (mother). She spent much of her energies fighting the Devadasis system (child prostitution in India). In 1932 an accident and subsequent illness confined her to bed until her death in 1951.

Amy began her time in India with an understanding of God and His place in her life. This was because she had learned in the slums of Manchester, England to bring all aspects of her life and work to Him in prayer and to depend on Him alone for the supply of all her material needs. In her room in Japan, she wrote two words on the wall that sum up her life and her teaching: "Yes, Lord." She described these early days in Japan by saying, "I think God wants to make me pure gold, so He is burning out the dross, teaching me the meaning of the fire, the burnt offering, the death of the self part of me."

Amy and the women who worked with her formed a group called Sisters of the Common Life. Those who joined her united themselves in "a confession of love." The confession declared their settled joy and determined resolve to live and die for God's renown:

My Vow.
Whatsoever Thou sayest unto me, by Thy grace I will do it.

My Constraint.
Thy love, O Christ, my Lord.

My Confidence.
Thou art able to keep that which I have committed unto Thee.

My Joy.
To do Thy will, O God.

My Discipline.
That which I would not choose, but which Thy love appoints.

My Prayer.
Conform my will to Thine.

My Motto.
Love to live, live to love.

My Portion.
The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance.”

Amy desired that the Lord burn away any dross keeping her from living and dying for His renown. There are very few pictures of Amy, as she saw no need for any type of self-glorification or promotion. She only saw this kind of thing as a hindrance to dying to self. From this perspective, she penned these words:

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

What was so special about Amy? Nothing. She had the great fortune of knowing and serving the Creator God. He simply made much of Himself through her life.

What is the difference between Amy and my 17-year-old daughter? Nothing. Both were created to reflect the image of God. We should not make this life into two tracks-one for those who are called missionaries and another for the rest of us. Each of us have been created for the death of self that magnifies God. This is the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ.

May you live, may I live, with the same resolve, the same passion and the same desire to be the fuel that God ignites for His glory to the ends of the earth. Yes, Lord!

Mike Stroope
©Copyright 2000

Elisabeth Elliot recounts the life of Amy Carmichael in A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1987). Also, you may want to read some of Amy Carmichael’s writings: Edges of His Ways (Fort Washington, PN: Christian Literature Crusade, 1955); Learning of God: Readings from Amy Carmichael, edited by Stuart and Brenda Blanch (Fort Washington, PN: Christian Literature Crusade, 1985); and Candles in the Dark: Letters of Amy Carmichael (Fort Washington, PN: Christian Literature Crusade, 1955).


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