I recently picked up my modest looking copy of Amy Carmichael’s devotional book, Edges of His Ways. It was given to me by a wise friend almost 20 years ago. I haven’t read it for a while, but it is full of underlining and notes, when the short, emphatic paragraphs made an indelible impression on me. The thing about Amy Carmichael is that she gives absolutely not an inch of excuse to be indulgent to myself. Consider this from the selection for May 22:
Deut. 28:47,48 “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things.”
And He, Who in another place says that He draws us with lovingkindness, says now that He shall put a yoke of iron upon our neck.
So dullness of spirit is sin; there is no way out of that conclusion. I think we sometimes call it by other names; “sensitiveness” is one of its pet names; and so we take things by the wrong handle, turn a dull face instead of a glad one on the rough and smooth of life, depress others and make it harder for them to be good. May the Lord deliver us from all this, and show us this dullness of spirit for what it is — ungratefulness, selfishness, sin. There will be sorrow; the care that cometh daily; battle wounds may knock us out; but we need never go under in spirit. May He keep us all and make us a joyful company, each one of us like that servant of His (the mother of Bishop Moule) “whose feet brought light into a room”. Let us all ask for that blessed gift, “joyfulness and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things”.
For defeating thought patterns, Amy says this:
“God has given us the power to close the shutter of our minds upon hurtful, weakening thoughts. He has provided all manner of shutters. A book that swings us off ourselves into another world is a very good shutter; a song set to music; beauty; the dear love of those who love us. Above all, there is this: Look at Calvary.”
Here is one for when I grow weary of waiting for the thing that I pray for:
No good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly. So that good thing that is not given could not have been good for us. He knows what is good.
See what I mean? No excuses, just quiet stating of the obvious, that is Amy Carmichael. She lived from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s, so the wording has a slightly old fashioned flavor. I highly recommend this book. It is one you should mark in as you read. My copy has wide margins, great for writing notes.
I think one of the things that impressed me most strongly was the courage for life that exudes out of Amy’s writing. A missionary in India, she made it her life work to rescue children from temple prostitution. An injury from a fall left her bedridden for the last 20 years of her life, which is when she did a lot of her writing. No wonder that her words are so wise! I leave you with one more quote:
If we want to be among those who are always ready to go the second mile, which often means being quick to see another’s trouble, then we must not lose courage in our own… No weakling runs the second mile; he does not properly run the first… Let us be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.