Daily Inspiration

January 20, 2015

Amy Carmichael

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

~ Philippians 4:13

When we look through the Bible, or when we look through the lives of thousands of saints - the famous or the forgotten - we see God using people who were no more intelligent or richer or more filled with gifts than you or I. People underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit, who will work through them for the glory of God. But have no doubt: You are capable of great things. They might not make the front page of the New York Times. Nobody will write a book about your life. But if that is what you want, you are seeking after pride and personal glory. It is those who seek the Glory of God whom the Spirit empowers with supernatural ability, beyond what they (or anyone else) think themselves capable of.

Amy Carmichael was the daughter of a poor Irish family, at a time Ireland was itself destitute, one of seven children. She decided when quite young to start a Sunday morning group for the ‘Shawlies’, i.e. the mill girls who wore shawls instead of hats. Her mission among the shawlies grew and grew until they needed a hall to seat 500 people.

At this time Amy saw an advertisement in The Christian, by which an iron hall could be erected for £500 that would seat 500 people. A donation of £500 from Miss Kate Mitchell, and another of a plot of land from a mill owners led to the erection of the first “Welcome Hall” on the corner of Cambrai Street and Heather Street in 1887.

Amy continued at the Welcome until she received a call to work among the mill girls of Manchester in 1889, from which she moved onto missionary work. In many ways Amy seemed an unlikely candidate for missionary work. She suffered neuralgia, a disease of the nerves that made her whole body weak and achy and often put her in bed for weeks on end. When she applied to several missionary groups, she was turned down because of her health.

Ten years later, she had made her way to India and founded the Dohhnavur Fellowship, which turned into a sanctuary for over one thousand children who would otherwise have faced a bleak future: Forced prostitution, street beggary, or miserable sweatshop work. When the children were asked what drew them to Amy, they most often replied, “It was love. Amma (Amy) loved us.” in 1916 Carmichael formed a Protestant religious order called Sisters of the Common Life. She went on to write many books, turned thousands to Christ, and saved the lives of tens of thousands of Indian children. Yet, she was so ill that she spent her life in constant debilitation and pain: for the last 20 years of her life, she was bedridden.

Don’t underestimate what God can do in and through you. He can use anyone and anything to accomplish His purposes. When we walk obediently with Him, His power and presence assure our victory.

Lord, let me find my calling, that I may serve you in power and victory. Amen.

~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer

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