Looking From the Top: Amy Carmichael

Today at Vintage, students were welcomed with a lunch of homemade tomato soup and BBQ sandwiches before diving into a discussion about the amazing missionary, Amy Carmichael. Amy was born in Ireland, and she lived from 1867-1951. Her devotion to God was apparent at an early age and by the time she was 24, Amy felt called to be a missionary overseas. Despite suffering from an illness, Amy did not abandon her calling. At age 29, she arrived in India to be an itinerant evangelist, where she lived for the rest of her life. This brave lady founded Dohnavur, a home for young girls taken out of Hindu temples. In a religious tradition, these Indian girls were “married” and dedicated to a deity or to a temple, many of them being forced into prostitution. Amy was so dedicated to her new life that she took an Indian name, wore Indian clothes, and even dyed her skin with coffee. In her lifetime, Carmichael wrote 50 or more books including the devotional book we read today, Edges of His Ways.  Although Amy Carmichael’s life was marked by closeness with God, her life in India could also be lonely and challenging. During these times of difficulty, Amy offers insight and perspective with these words: “So the word comes, ‘Look from the top’. Come with Me from all that, come up the mountain with Me, ‘look from the top’. In every-day life this simply means, look from everything up to the Lord Jesus, Who is our Peace, our Victory, and our Joy, for we are where we look. From below, things feel impossible, people seem impossible (some people at least), and we ourselves feel most impossible of all. From the top we see as our Lord sees; He sees not what is only, but what shall be.”

Students discussed the importance of perspective and “looking” in our lives.  In fact, Amy goes so far as to say “we are where we look”. We are called to follow Jesus up the mountain to “look from the top,” however unnatural or difficult this might be. For it is here where our doubts and trials are put into perspective. And it is here when we are able to see as the Lord sees—not only what is, but what shall be. When we “look from the top” with Jesus, “our discouragement vanishes, and we can sing a new song.” Amy Carmichael’s life is a great encouragement to us all. She is a true example to us of what it means to live with such a perspective, no matter how difficult life may be.

-Caroline Parsley, UVa '14

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