Elisabeth Elliot on Amy Carmichael

When i was 14 years old, a student in boarding school, I first heard of Amy Carmichael. The headmistress of the school often quoted her writings and told of her amazing work in India for the rescue of little children in moral danger. No other single individual has had a more powerful influence on my own life and writing than Amy Carmichael. No one else put the missionary call more clearly.

Of the 36 books she wrote, I think it was the little book If that I read first, and found in it the source of an exhortation we heard often in the evening vespers services: Hold your friends to the highest. If is a series of statements about love, given to her sentence by sentence, Amy Carmichael claimed, “almost as if spoken aloud to the inward ear.” Each page holds a single sentence, with the rest of the page blank. Someone has suggested that the blank space is for each of us to write in large letters GUILTY. I was seared by the words.

“If I fear to hold another to the highest because it is so much easier to avoid doing so, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” I was guilty.

“If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Such jokes, such slights were habitual with me.

“If I make much of anything appointed, magnify it secretly to myself or insidiously to others … then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Every page pointed up my guilt, but every page aroused in me a deep longing to know that love, to be like the one who showed it to us on Calvary, and to follow him.

As a student in college I wrestled with the desperate desire to be married. I had promised the Lord I would go to some foreign land as ...

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