I just finished reading an incredibly inspiring biography on Amy Carmichael, written by Jannet and Geoff Bence. Amy’s story fascinated me and stirred an interest within my heart to learn more about missionaries of the past. Anyhow, I wanted to share a tiny glimpse of Amy’s story with you today. In this particular story, Amy was a young Christian missionary in the early 1900’s.
Before Amy began the mission work in India, she felt God calling her to China, and without a doubt, she was aboard a ship, standing upon the deck of the steamer, waving goodbye to her beloved friend, Robert Wilson. Days later she has boarded onto the second voyage… finding some not so pleasant surprises.
Imagine being on ship, infested with bugs, rats, and a distinct smell lingering throughout the entire ship. The ship is rocking and as you turn your head to each corner there is someone either coughing or complaining.
Yes, this is, indeed, not a pretty sight. But, it was the reality for young missionary, Amy Carmichael, as she set sail to China for mission work.
I know what you’re probably thinking. “Yuck! Roaches crawling around, rats squeaking, people complaining. . . Yeah, not my idea of a nice cruise to China. No thank you!” Yet, this is a clear picture of the risks and sacrifices missionaries take to share the gospel. It’s not always pretty, easy, and well, comfortable. Missionaries often leave behind comfort and luxury to share the unconditional love and good news of Jesus Christ to those around the globe.
Back to the story… 🙂 This was the second ship Amy boarded until she would step foot on the China Isles. And It was rather different from the previous ship, which was clean and bug-free. Instead of groaning, Amy found a large piece of card board, on which she wrote the words “In Everything Give Thanks.” She placed the card board by her bunk where she could read it before she went to sleep every night and awoke every day.
She must have lived out what she had written, because she made a big impact on the captain during the voyage. He told her he had never once seen someone as positive as Amy was amid the poor conditions on the ship. During the trip he asked Amy numerous questions about her faith, until he finally announced he wanted to become a Christian just like Amy. Amy was delighted, even more so when he asked her to write him bible verses on cardboard so he could stick them on the walls of his cabin. It was a way to publicly profess to the whole crew that he too was now a Christian.
As a result of the example Amy set, she led the Captian of the Sutlejn (the name of the ship) to a relationship with Christ! What an incredible result of someone who will fix their eyes not on the condition’s and curcumstances, but on Christ. Simular to the story of Peter walking on the water, as soon as he fixed his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on water! But, once he took his eyes off of Jesus and turned them to the raging waves, he began sinking.
What ship has God placed you on? Will you choose to trust Him amid the circumstances and conditions? He has a purpose behind why he has placed you here, just as he did for Amy. Instead of focusing on everything that seems to be falling apart, focus on little things that you can thank God for. You will be amazed at how much difference a habit of thankfulness will make. Look at how God used Amy’s simple habit of thankfulness!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
A Challenge For You This Week: Write “In Everything Give Thanks” on a note card of your choice and stick it somewhere where you can be reminded each day. Let me know if you complete this challenge! 🙂