Amy Carmichael: A Chance to Die

A little more than a week ago, I started a “series” of answers to prayer from the lives of classic missionary biographies. That series was supposed to run every day for a week or so — and that hasn’t quite happened. 🙂 I have one more anecdote in that category I’d like to share, but in the process of looking back over several missionary stories, I found a few other things that have spoken to my heart over the years that I wanted to share. I’m just going to post those as opportunities arise and as I feel led. Here is the first one:

Amy Carmichael was one of the first missionaries I ever read much about, and her life has had a tremendous impact on me as well as on most who read about her. She would have been appalled at the thought of any attention directed toward her, but a look at her life is reveals what it is to walk closely in love and obedience to God. She was a missionary from Ireland who worked in India from 1895 to 1951 without a furlough.

One of the lessons from her life that has stayed with me over the years (in my mind, at least: it is still far from being worked out in practice as often as it should be) comes from her earliest days in India. In Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur, author Frank L. Houghton records that Amy wrote that one of the group of missionaries was

unfair and curiously dominating in certain ways and words. One day I felt the “I” in me rising hotly, and quite clearly — so clearly that I could show you the place on the floor of the room where I was standing when I heard it — the word came, “See in it a chance to die.” To this day that word is life and release to me, and it has been to many others. See in this which seems to stir up all you most wish were not stirred up — see in it a chance to die to self in every form. Accept it as just that — a chance to die.

Often we think of dying to self in the big, martyr-like ways. Yet it is in those everyday situations where, as Amy aptly put it, the “I” in us “rises hotly” that we need to deny self .

3 thoughts on “Amy Carmichael: A Chance to Die

  1. yes, it is so easy to rise up and defend ourselves, the great “I” of my world…I have this book on my bookshelf and keep meaning to start it.

    thanks for sharing,
    Jenny in Ca

  2. Thank you for these words. Amy Carmichael seems real to me – the thoughts and prayers of someone who was not afraid to tell it like it was/is. Then fall on her face and beg the Lord’s forgiveness – a place I so often find myself.

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