Coming Through Songs of overcoming faith Copyright Doug Blair, Waterloo ON, 2018
Hurdles Thereâ€™s a training That requires some dark tunnels And some days when Not a single step is clear And the saint is tempted In believing. Does He know? Does He care? Is He near? 1
And the restless Doubt and tossing Rob the nightâ€™s sleep And the Book traversed With tired gritty eyes And the Word of God Seems distant for a season Then the sun comes up! Blind trusting brings surprise! And a gentle voice says Child there is no shame here For I knew this training Would obscure the Light But those legs those lungs Now leap the walls of challenge And how youâ€™ve grown in Love While tasting night.
Fragile Flower in India
I knew of the name of Amy Carmichael from having read a number of her inspirational poems. I did not know of her solid Ulster Christian upbringing. Her repeated attempts to enter missionary work compromised by fragile health. Her ultimate settling in the Tinnevelly District of southern India. Her establishment of the orphanage and school known as the Dohnavur Institute. Her adoption, almost entirely, of Indian culture. Her rich sense of family, though remaining unmarried. The rescue of many very young local girls from the practice of Hindu temple prostitution and servitude. The thorough and seemingly strict program of lessons, chores and religious exercise. The frequency of disease and untimely death for the children. The number of rescues proving the diligence of their attending "angels" (fevers, delirium, choking accidents, cobras, returning influences of the old dark life). The falling accident which through complications rendered Amy bed-ridden for the final twenty years of her life. The change in assignment from meals, maintenance, lessons and admissions to writing, counselling and communing.
For all of this information and many more stirring words from Amy (1867-1951) I am indebted to Elizabeth R. Skoglund and her book â€‹Amma: The Life and Words of Amy Carmichaelâ€‹, 1994 Baker Book House Company.
What profound questions were asked by the rescued children, girls and boys! Where do the dead go? Is it a place of comfort or confusion? What is love? Is it only that which was offered to me by Hindu masters? Does the God Christ have power to change my angry ways? Where are all the flowers, music, parades and excitement in your religion? Such were the challenges faced by Amma and her dedicated staff, many of whom were orphans at Dohnavur in the first instance.
The author Skoglund makes very clear the understanding which motivated Amy in rendering comfort, "to come alongside and strengthen". There was to be no coddling or leniency, no unconfessed sin, no missed Hour of Prayer. But there were occasions 3
of fun involving music, crafts, readings, outings in nature, swimming and the celebration of each child's Coming Day (the day of admission, birthdays often remaining unknown).
Of comfort, Amy made the following comparison:
"Who can tell how the parakeelia plant of Central Australia can resist wind, frost, heat, and in a tract of country where there is no surface water, remain green after three years' drought; so green, so full of life-giving water that horses and cattle feeding upon it need no water. We have a wonderful God, the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our â€‹tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. He can turn the least of us into a parakeelia-or better, far better, for a parable cannot show everything, He can comfort us so that we know how to discover to others the parakeelia's secret Spring."
It is noteworthy that in preparing for her life of toil, hardship, care-giving, stamina and ultimate submission, Amy Carmichael drew heavily from the thoughts of Samuel Rutherford, Hudson Taylor, Geraldine Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, F. B. Meyer, H.C.G. Moule and Andrew Murray.
Closing now with one of her poems:
Thou art my Lord Who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art my Lord Who calmed the furious sea;
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee.
Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill;
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that resteth in Thy will? ( Edges of His Ways, London, S.P.C.K. 1955)
Fit words now
And all I can say
For all that is painful
And all giving hope
I need you
To usher the way.
Oh Jesus I hurt
Oh Jesus alone
I wonder where
All of them went.
Oh Jesus I fall
And Jesus I rage
Unsure and all spent.
But Jesus you know
And Jesus you
Once suffered shame
And carry me up
On your shoulders
And smile when
You think on my name.
A turn in the road
You say is coming
And rich purpose yet.
And oh, best of all,
We are partners
This surely, I'll never forget.
That Straightening Hill
It comes like A wave of the sea In midst of everyday In midst of triviality And calls up short. Has this day’s Span given me Been lost to good? Been mere frivolity? Or moodiness Good for little Kind productive sand Through the glass. One mourner helped One captive’s pass? Calvary And a Prince Rudely raised While mobs Scorning dazed Miss the love Miss the King Miss the hope That He was sent to bring. Like a wave it is Shocking Shaming But also bracing Claiming This day And hereafter For Him Child ...For Him. Rejoicing.
This only to do When circumstance roars When all seems but loss Right now is He yours? Could He be the culprit Behind this attack Some test or display In face of your lack? But you have been purchased The precious blood spent And He is all love So what here is meant? For nothing gets past Him
No nothing prevails But Jesus your shepherd And He hears your wails. Rejoice Friend You â€˜ve conquered Not death nor the grave Can de-rail Your journey Nor His plan to save. How precious the letter* That shows these two words And your wondrous knowledge That you are the Lordâ€™s.
(*1 Thessalonians 5: 16-23)
In His Rays
Oh to see On Galilee The thrilling works Of love When Jesus sought The bruised distraught And pictured Home above. And nothing made Him panic Nor shirk the chance To heal He made the time
In works sublime That every child Might feel. How we must have Loveâ€™s stamina To bless in Christ-like ways And bring the touch That He used much With healing in His rays.
Lord we thank you that for reasons best known in Heaven you have chosen us into the Beloved Christ; have softened our hearts with compassion through the comforts of your Spirit; have impressed us with the mission to enlighten others with the Gospel call; have shown us quickening glimpses of our eternal Home in Glory. Blessed be your name...Amen