Monday, October 28, 2013

Candles in the Dark

Anyone who knows me knows I love anything written by Amy Carmichael.  If you haven't read any of her books I highly recommend anything and everything written by her.  She was a missionary to India for 55 years and founded an orphanage in Dohnavur.  On top of that amazing work for the Lord, she wrote many books.  Many she wrote while she was serving as a missionary. The book titled If  is one of my all time favorites...but that is for another post!
Recently my husband came home from a Goodwill treasure hunt and surprised me with the book Candles in the Dark by Amy Carmichael.  I was so excited as this was on my wish list of books to read!  This book is quite a gem and is unique.  It is actually a compilation of letters that she wrote after an accident left her bedridden...and they were the last of her writings before she died in 1951 at the age of 83.  Amy's biography quotes her as saying,

"One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving."

Reading about her life, (I recommend A Chance to Die: The Amy Carmichael Story by Elizabeth Elliot) one can only see that she lived out the words she spoke.  Amy loved much and she gave much...all to and through the glory of God.  In Candles in the Dark there is letter after letter of encouragement and exhortation  to others that comes from a deep relationship with God and a rich knowledge of His Word.  Not in an intellectual way, but in a knowing that comes only from abiding in Him.  Here is  just one example:

Loneliness:  On this day many years ago I went away alone to a cave in a mountain called Arima, in Japan.  I felt many feelings of fear about the future.  That was why I went there. I wanted to be alone with God.  The devil kept on whispering, "It's all right now, but what about afterwards?  You are going to be very lonely."  And he painted pictures of loneliness,  I can see them still.  Then I turned to my God in a kind of desperation and said, "Lord, what can I do?  How can I go on to the end?"  And He said, "None of them that trust in Me shall be desolate."(Psalm 34:22)  That word has been with me ever since, and I give it to you now.  It has been fulfilled to me.  It will be fulfilled to you.  Only live for Him who redeemed you and trust Him to take care of you, and He will.  That day the words "not only but also" were given to me too.  There is not only joy but also sorry in every life, but in the end-O in the end we shall see His face and we shall serve Him together.

Yes, this book is full of short little letters like that.  Words that come from one who has walked with God on the mountains and in the valleys.  Words that encourage us to seek His face and then go out and be candles in the dark.  Get this book! 

Amy's last word

As Amy's life drew to a close, writing of any kind became impossible.  Her last letter, undated, was written in pencil in large, sprawling letters which straggled across the page:

Precious Child,

         If so dear to me, what to Him?

                                         Amma (the children she cared for called
                                                      her Amma which means mother
                                                      in the Tamil language)