I mentioned Amy Carmichael yesterday: she was one of the first missionaries I ever read about, and her life has had a tremendous impact on me as well as on most who read about her. She would have been appalled at the thought of any attention directed toward her, but a look at her life is reveals what it is to walk closely in love and obedience to God. She was a missionary from Ireland who worked in India from 1895 to 1951 without a furlough.
One of the lessons from her life that has stayed with me over the years (in my mind, at least: it is still far from being worked out in practice as often as it should be) comes from her earliest days in India. In Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur, author Frank L. Houghton records that Amy wrote that one of the group of missionaries she first worked with was
unfair and curiously dominating in certain ways and words. One day I felt the “I” in me rising hotly, and quite clearly — so clearly that I could show you the place on the floor of the room where I was standing when I heard it — the word came, “See in it a chance to die.” To this day that word is life and release to me, and it has been to many others. See in this which seems to stir up all you most wish were not stirred up — see in it a chance to die to self in every form. Accept it as just that – a chance to die.
“And [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Often we think of dying to self in the big, martyr-like ways. Yet it is in those everyday situations where, as Amy aptly put it, the “I” in us “rises hotly” that we need to deny self.
(You can see a list of other posts in the 31 Days of Missionary Stories here.)