Book Review: A Chance To Die

For any who have never read anything by Amy Carmichael, get yourself to now!

Reading this biography (written by Elisabeth Elliot after Amy Carmichael had died) showed me what a life of faith and self-denial really looks like. Amy lived in England in the late 1800’s and left home at 18 to be a Missionary. Never marrying or having children of her own, and through illness and heartbreaks, she finally ended up in India where she found her life’s call. Her heart was distraught and broken for the victims of the sex temples in India- the children. Eventually, God called her to rescue these children by whatever means, but mostly by prayer and watching God work (for “prayer was the center of every day”), and start a home for these children, which she called “Donavaur”. She became their “Amma” or “mother” and they became her dear children.

God gave her insight into her role as a “mother” of these children:

“Motherwork, like any other honest labor, is God’s work– not to be despised, but offered up to Him.”

Every third sentence and every poem is quotable and worth passing on, but one especially stuck with me. Maybe it is what mothers (and all who call themselves Believers) need to hear.

“… If the Lord of Glory took a towel and knelt on the floor to wash the dusty feet of His disciples (the job of the lowest slave in an Eastern household), then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning. To offer it up to the Lord of Glory transforms it into a holy task. ‘Could it be right,’ Amy had asked, ‘to turn from so much that might be of profit and become just nursemaids?’ The answer was yes. It is not the business of the servant to decide which work is great, which is small, which important or unimportant–he is not greater than his Master….

“‘If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love,'” Amy wrote after many years of such unspiritual work.”

Verdict: Very Good

She wrote many other books. She wrote until- literally- her index finger and thumb would no longer touch. Then she dictated. It is only when she slipped into a coma that she stopped writing. If you don’t read this book, read another book of hers… or every other book she wrote. I plan on it!

Others by her: