31 Days of Missionary Stories: With All Our Feebleness

Hebrews 11 is sometimes called the hall of fame of faith or the Christian Hall of Fame, telling of the victories and triumphs of various people in the Bible. But verse 36 has a rather startling turn: “and others…” were tortured, tried, stoned, made to wander in deserts. That doesn’t sound very victorious. But they all “obtained a good report through faith,” though they  had “received not the promise” yet (verse 39).

amy-carmichael-2Probably many Christians are more familiar with the name of Amy Carmichael than of some of the other missionaries I’ve mentioned in this series. Most know that she was missionary to India. She began a rather robust itinerant evangelistic ministry with a group of other women, but when God began bringing children her way whose families were going to sell them to temples for illicit purposes, she gradually became convinced that He would have her care for these children, though it meant a drastic change in her ministry and lifestyle. Over time a whole compound known as Dohnavur was developed.

What some may not know is that she was an invalid for the last 20 years or so of her life. She remained in India, still in charge of Dohnavur, still encouraging, advising, praying, and writing, but she was in much pain and had limited mobility those years. In Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton, he includes this poem before telling of this part of her life:

Two glad services are ours,
Both the Master loves to bless.
First we serve with all our powers–
Then with all our feebleness.

Nothing else the soul uplifts,
Save to serve Him night and day,
Serve Him when He gives His gifts–
Serve Him when He takes away.

~ C. A. Fox

Elisabeth Elliot said of limitations, “For it is with the equipment that I have been given that I am to glorify God. It is this job, not that one, that He gave me.” The limitations that we think are hindering our ministry are often the very thing God uses to shape our ministry for Him.

One day Amy received a shipment of tracts for the ill. As she read them, they just did not do anything for her. As she pondered that, she realized it was because they were written from well people telling sick people how they ought to feel. Over many years she had written notes of encouragement to various ones in the Dohnavur Hospital (named, in the descriptive Indian way, Place of Heavenly Healing), and some of these were compiled in a book titled Rose From Brier. They are rich in their spiritual encouragement and insight, partly precisely because they were written by one who had shared in the fellowship of sufferings.

In another of Amy’s books, she wrote the following:

This prayer was written for the ill and for the very tired. It is so easy to fail when not feeling fit. As I thought of them, I also remembered those who, thank God, are not ill and yet can be hard-pressed. Sometimes in the midst of the rush of things it seems impossible always to be peaceful, always to be inwardly sweet. Is that not so? Yet that and nothing less is our high calling. So the prayer is really for us all.

Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm;
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm,
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fulness of enabling love,
O Love of God, do this for me;
Maintain a constant victory.

Before I leave the desert land
For meadows of immortal flowers,
Lead me where streams at Thy command
Flow by the borders of the hours,
That when the thirsty come, I may
Show them the fountains in the way.
O Love of God, do this for me;
Maintain a constant victory.

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
II Corinthian 1:3-5

God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Genesis 41:52b

(You can see a list of other posts in the 31 Days of Missionary Stories here.)

6 thoughts on “31 Days of Missionary Stories: With All Our Feebleness

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Missionary Stories | Stray Thoughts

  2. Exactly the reminder I needed for my current situation Thanks Barb, for all of your work in putting this series together. I’m going to pull out my Amy Carmichael collection and begin to re-read it, starting with Rose from Brier!

  3. Pingback: Stray Thoughts

  4. Pingback: 31 Days of Missionary Stories: Amy Carmichael Learns to Die to Self | Stray Thoughts

  5. Pingback: 31 Days of Missionary Stories: Amy Carmichael and Singleness | Stray Thoughts

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