The following was written by Amy Carmichael and included in Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton. It is a wonderful picture of our ultimate need and desire: our Father’s fellowship:
It was the hour between lights, and five little people under two years old were waiting for their food. Sometimes the cows belonging to the adjoining village from which part of our milk comes saunter home with more than their usual leisureliness, and then the milk is late. The babies, who do not understand the weary ways of cows, disapprove of having to wait, and that evening they were all very fractious. To add to their woes the boy whose duty it is to light the lamps had been detained, and the quickly gathering twilight fell upon us unawares as we sat together on the nursery veranda. The five fretful babies made discouraging remarks to each other and threw themselves in that exasperated fashion which tells the experienced that the limits of patience have been passed. And the more depressed began to whimper.
At this point a lamp was brought and set behind me so that its light fell upon their toys — a china head long since parted from its body, a tin with small stones in it which when shaken makes a charming noise, several rattles and other sundries. If anything will comfort them their toys will, I thought, as these illuminated treasures caught my attention. But the babies only looked disgusted. One of the most sweet-tempered seized the china head and flung it as far as ever she could. Not one of them would find consolation in toys.
Then a small child endowed with a vivid imagination and a timid disposition was sure she heard something dangerous moving in the bushes outside and she wailed a wail of most infectious misery and terror, and the quick panic which comes upon birds when they hear their own particular warning call, suddenly filled the babies’ hearts, and they howled.
Then I took the lamp and set it in front so that its light did not fall upon the toys but upon myself, and in a moment the whole five were tumbling over me cuddling and caressing — and content.
Are there not evenings in life when our toys have no power to please or soothe? There is not any rest in them or any comfort. Then the one Whom we love best takes the lamp and puts it so that the toys are in the shadow, but His face is in the light. And then we know that that is what we wanted all the time. And He makes His face to shine upon us and gives us peace.