May 12, 2024

The Shepherd's Corner

Amy Carmichael of Ireland (1867-1951) served as a missionary in India for 55 years.  Out of those years, the most difficult period is perhaps 1912-1913 where she experienced loss after loss.  First, her spiritual mother in India, Mrs. Hopwood, whom she always went to for support and prayer, died.  Days later a little girl named Lula died in the orphanage where Amy served.  A week later Thomas Walker who was like a father to her, died.  A week after another little girl in the orphanage died and several months later, a partner in ministry was diagnosed with cancer.  For three months she nursed her friend in the hospital during which time, her mother died.  All in one year!

Elizabeth Elliot, who wrote Amy Carmichael’s biography, A Chance to Die, called this period “a year of stripping.”  Amy Carmichael was stripped of all the support she needed and relied on. Yes, there are times when God strips us off our earthly support so we can depend solely on heavenly support.  There are times God allows and uses people around us to shore us up in times of weakness.  We count on them for strength and insight, just like Joshua depended on Moses.  However, it is not in our best interests to depend on people; they’re not always around.  God wants us to depend on Him because He is always around; for that to happen He must take these people away. 

When we look back, we will surely find those we considered pillars of strength, and sources of encouragement and wisdom. They might still be around but many, I am sure, are long gone.  Perhaps we once thought there would be no way we could continue this life’s journey without them.  But here we are today; not only do we still stand but we have also become stronger.  Things that we thought we could never do, we did. The impossible has become possible.  After being stripped of all the earthly support she relied on, Amy Carmichael went on to serve for another 38 years, till the day she died. 

Pastor Paul

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