Things As They Are

original cover of the book "Things As They Are" by Amy Carmichael

From the time I was a little girl, I was fascinated with the story of Amy Carmichael.  She had brown eyes, and like my 10 year old self, she wished God had given her blue eyes.  I remember lamenting to my mother my woe that my eye color did not match her own.  "But Amy Carmichael had eyes like yours."  my mom had answered me.  And she began to tell me the story how a young girl met Jesus and didn't want to hoard His love all to herself.  She just had to tell the world.  Amy felt God calling her to India where she would spend the majority of her life living among the Indian people, spreading the Gospel.  She later thanked God for her brown eyes because they made her acceptance in India a little easier.

I devoured everything I could read about Amy Carmichael and I was convinced that I was to be a missionary like her one day.  God reminded me of those books and writings I have kept of hers and led me to re-read them.  I've been challenged and humbled all over again.  One book in particular, "Things As They Are", in which she describes the painstaking journey of missionary work in a dark and destitute India of the 1800's, has shaken me to my core.  I just have to share an excerpt from her book, a chapter that has been haunting my mind and tugging at my soul.  She describes a prophetic dream the Lord gave her and it reaches through the centuries to convict my heart...

"...I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space.  I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths.  Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass.  They were making for the edge.  There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress.  She was on the very verge.  Then I saw that she was blind.  She lifted her foot for the next step... it trod air.  She was over, and the children over with her.  Oh, the cry as they went over!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters.  All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge.  There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air.  But some went over quickly, and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge.  I could not.  I was glued to the ground, and I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come.  Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals.  But the intervals were far too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between.  And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees, with their back turned towards the gulf.  They were making daisy chains.  Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them it disturbed them, and they thought it a rather vulgar noise.  And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down, "Why should you get so excited about it?  You must wait for a definite call to go!  You haven't finished your daisy chains yet.  It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone."

There was another group.  It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules.  And being tired and needing a change, she had to go rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called--but nobody seemed to hear.  Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass.  And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew.  And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob.  And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was--the Cry of the Blood.

Then thundered a Voice, the Voice of the Lord: "And He said, What has thou done?  The voice of thy brothers' blood crieth unto Me from the ground."

God forgive us!  God arouse us!  Shame us out of our callousness!  Shame us out of our sin!"

sidenote:  I just noticed that the unreached people of the day (in my left sidebar) to pray for are the Teli of India.  Amazing how God works!  And I just received a comment from a missionary family in India.  Let's pray for them and for more workers to be sent out into the harvest.


Mary said...

amen, friend.
stir our hearts to tell others of Thee, dear Lord.
the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.

Bethany said...

wow and thank you! my favorite childhood heroines were amy carmichael and elisabeth elliot. what a great reminder of the work that is calling us all!

Mrs Panda said...

I have never heard of Amy Carmichael!! I feel I am sorely missing out. Thanks for this! I'm going to find as much as I can on here now, that passage peeked my interest, and I wish it hadn't ended.

ordinary child of God said...

I hoped you would write about Amy Carmichael and india... Actually, it wasn´t like that only in the 1800´ but it feels exactly the same today. My family (hubby+myself, 2 kids (25 and 11 months) are so thankful to be here in India as missionaries (from Europe). The needs are overwhelming. Thank you for that quote. We are aching for the need of this people. Thank you also for bringing awareness to the unreached. Let us follow the Lords example of 2.Cor.8,9 starting today wherever we are.Grace and peace to you!

Lisa Grace said...

Move our hearts, God ... help us hear the Cry!

Abbey said...

Wow, Joye! Thank you for sharing that! I will have to read that book!
I feel like our culture has us so distracted by worthless things, that keep us from seeing what is really going on. I have been so blind myself on so many levels, and as sad as the truth is, I am so glad God is opening my eyes because I don't want to waste my life in blindness anymore!

Brooke said...

I wish you were my neighbor...and you could disciple me...

I'm just saying...


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