Encouraging Poems

“The CROSS is the Attraction”

by Amy Carmichael

Missionary to orphans in India

God of the Heights, austere, inspiring,
Thy word hath come to me, with
0 let no selfish aims, conspiring,
Distract my soul from Thee.
Loosen me from Things of Time;
Strengthen me for steadfast climb.

The temporal would bind my spirit;
Father, be Thou my stay.
Show me what flesh cannot inherit,
Stored for another day.
Be transparent, Things of Time.
Looking through you, I would climb.

Now by Thy grace my spirit chooseth
Treasure that shall abide.
The great Unseen, I know, endureth,
My footsteps shall not slide.
Not for me the Things of Time;
God of mountains, I pill climb.

"...every night, however long and difficult, ends in a dawn of gold."
-Amy Carmichael

Lord Jesus, for me crucified,
Let not my footsteps from Thee slide.
For I would tread where Thou hast trod,
My spirit tender to the glory of God.

That glory which meant all to Thee,
Let it mean all, my Lord, to me.
So would I tread where Thou hast trod,
My spirit tender to the glory of God.

In 1939, Amy Carmichael (Amma) wrote:

"How we are cast on our God. Never, I suppose, was so large a community with so small a root in England — just a single taproot. Go gently. Don’t do as I know I did, for truly I had to do it. Don’t work each day till you are unable to do one minute more. Don’t. Leave a margin.

"It doesn’t matter that I did it [all], for there are all these ready to take over, and the old should leave the young to it. The part of the old is to love them through the difficulties that are bound to come, and lend a hand when needed. So I am more than content, but you are still in midstream, and there is no one as yet preparing to be buthil [substitute], so conserve strength."

But when she told intending candidates [wanting to help serve the orphaned children in Dohnavur, India] that Dohnavur desired only those to whom the Cross was the attraction, she was speaking of what she knew, for it had always been the attraction to her. To one who had been accepted she wrote:

"Above all my prayer for you is that you may be a good soldier, ready for anything, any suffering, any misunderstanding, any blame, anything for Jesus’ sake.

"The life of a missionary can be as easy and as pleasant as any life at home.* Crossing the sea does not make any woman a missionary in spirit, nor does it turn soft iron into steel.

"Spend much time at Calvary before you come. Look at that love, look and look till you can say to Him, Yes, Lord, anything.'

"I long to ... send you out to fight the powers of evil with the Powers of Love. Don’t fear—the mud-throwing will not be over when you come. You will get thoroughly splashed. I’m so glad you don’t mind the prospect.

And of another she wrote:

"If her soul leaps to hardship for the sake of the Crucified all will be well. It is those who for His sake choose to follow Him in this way who make the valiant warriors.

* "Home" meant England in this context. But it cannot be too strongly emphasized that to members of the Fellowship Dohnavur is home, as it was to Amma.

“Don’t let us lower the standard “—this was the theme of many letters:

"We shall begin to perish if we do. That is, the deepest in us will do so. We shall get bigger, but gradually we shall slip into soft iron, not tempered steel. What a mix-up of simile, but I leave it. God keep us true to the heavenly vision."

She longed that the vision should be shared by the relatives of D.F.s [orphans at the Dohnavur Fellowship], and especially their parents.

"I delighted in your action and decision, and when I heard of your parents’ response—their soldierly response—I just sang for joy. . . . The soldierly choices of the soul—it is those that are assaulted, and with one voice most Christian parents and friends join in the assault. . . . I can see no reason for the creation of our D.F. if we are to be satisfied with the usual."

She constantly read stories from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to the older girls....  [and would] recommend as of great value the second volume of the Life of Hudson Taylor. She ... read eagerly the writings of men and women who were ardent lovers of the Lord, and mourned that “the joy of sacrificial living” seemed to be found more often “amongst those whom we cannot follow in doctrine."

"We [i.e. we Protestants] have had some who have gone back to the early ideal, and lived it out. But they have had to press through the solid weight of modern Christianity, a sort of piled up decorousness, comfortableness, utter negation of the Cross as lived, shocked surprise at the bare thought of that. . . . My most longing prayer is that as a Fellowship we may go on there, and not become mere talkers or singers about it."

And she prayed for parents who would not “call their children back from going to the last extremity of the jewel mine. It is just there that the richest jewels lie." [p.341]

Will not the End explain?

The crossed endeavour, earnest purpose foiled,
The strange bewilderment of good work spoiled,
The clinging weariness, the inward strain,
Will not the End explain?

Meanwhile He comforteth
Them that are losing patience; ‘tis His way.
But none can write the words they hear Him say,
For men to read; only they know He saith
Kind words, and comforteth.

Not that He doth explain
The mystery that baffleth; but a sense
Husheth the quiet heart, that far, far hence
Lieth a field set thick with golden grain,

Wetted in seedling days by many a rain;

The End -- it will explain. [2]

1. From Amy Carmichael of Dohnavu, page 340.

2. Amy Carmichael, Toward Jerusalem