I first read this poem when I was in college and thought it amazing. Amy Carmichael is my own personal hero and I delight in her many writings. She was a gifted woman who sought to serve God with what she had and where she was. Her own perplexity at why He made her a certain way encourages me beyond what I can say. God has a purpose for us and He reveals that to us in His due time. We might not understand what purpose something has for our lives and our future, but God does not waste a gift. Only we do. Are you grateful for the gifts that may not even seem like a gift?
Anyway, I love this poem. She’s asking God to not let her shy away from the challenge that she may face – to stand bold for Him and to even pursue the hard tasks. She even asks to be spent completely in His glory. I can only attempt the same.
From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.
From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary
O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God
I found this in the book I’m reading, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood compiled and largely written by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. As you can expect with those two authors, I’m still wading my way through the Foreward…and what a trove of treasure in those few pages.
I have, for a long time, enjoyed reading about some of my favorite women of the faith, especially missionary women, and especially those who have worked in the field while single. These are primarily Amy Carmichael (India), Lottie Moon (China), Elisabeth Elliot (single for a time after her husband Jim died and missionary in Ecuador, to the people who murdered him), but I keep forgetting about Gladys Aylward, missionary to China. I haven’t read too much of/by her, but this little story makes me want to raid my personal library for her bio that I know is in there somewhere. The story is related by Elisabeth Elliot in the Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter:
She had been a missionary in China for six or seven years before she ever thought of wanting a husband. When a British couple came to work near her, she began to watch the wonderful thing they had in marriage, and to desire it for herself. Being a woman of prayer she prayed – a straightforward request that God would call a man from England, send him straight out to China, and have him propose. She leaned toward me on the sofa on which we were sitting, her black eyes snapping, her bony little forefinger jabbing at my face. “Elisabeth,” she said, “I believe God answers prayer! He called him.” Then, in a whisper of keen intensity, “but he never came.”
I will not close a door that God may be keeping open, but I am no longer trying to force it to remain open. It can do as it wishes and I will be content to stay on this side of the wall until God gives me a reason to go through it. And the peace of that is amazing.