What's Love Look Like?

From Christian Classics, wise words from the past
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That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

Amy Carmichael

(1867-1951)

Irish-born Amy Carmichael was sure God was calling her to be a missionary. But when she applied to China Inland Mission, she was rejected. She was told she was too frail for the stressful demands of missionary life. But Amy wouldn't take no for an answer. She found another organization that was willing to send her and soon set sail for Japan. She was there for only a year when poor health forced her to return. But even then she refused to give up. The following year she traveled to South India, where she would serve as a missionary for the rest of her life.

In India, Amy encountered practices that both shocked and grieved her. Children were being forced into prostitution as a part of religious rituals. Amy made it her goal to rescue as many as she could from this fate. In order to give the children a place to go, she helped establish the Dohnavur Fellowship, where over 900 children found refuge during her ministry.

When Amy was in her 60s, she fell and broke a leg. She also injured her spine, which left her bedridden for the rest of her life. But that didn't end her work. She seized the opportunity to write. It was during this time that Amy wrote If. The booklet came in response to a young member of the Fellowship who wasn't grasping the gospel. This troubled Amy. She wondered if it was because she had failed to demonstrate Christ's love through her actions. Those thoughts kept her awake all night. By morning, she had written what would become a tool for many wanting to understand the meaning of "Calvary love."

From If by Amy Carmichael. Christian Literature Crusade © 1991. Illustration of Amy Carmichael by Luis Fernandez (not online). Used with permission. © 2001 In Touch Ministries.

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