A Chance to Die

November 6, 2009 at 3:28 am 1 comment

I’ve never really been into biographies.  I don’t know why; perhaps they were just not as engaging as the Boxcar Children.  But my tastes have been changing a bit over the last few years, and I’m reading a lot more biographies and memoirs.

I just bought A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Charmichael, by Elisabeth Elliot, and all of the sudden I’m understanding the value of such books. 

I don’t know about you, but Amy Charmichael is definitely a name I’m familiar with.  Maybe too familiar.  I hear her name and immediately put her in the “spiritual giant” category.  You know, the that’s amazing but she was someone special box.  I look at her life, and I look at mine: I’m just a regular girl, who loves her Lord and wants to spend her life glorifying Him – and is awfully scared about some things, with a very small, very tenacious bit of trust and faith.  Not the kind of woman who takes her life in her hands by storming into temples and rescuing children.  Yeah, not in Amy’s league at all. 

But we read, over and over again in the Bible, how Jesus used and blessed and worked with people.  Real people.  Ordinary people.  Who were scared to completely obey God.  Moses stuttered; Esther was a poor girl who was supposed to stand up to the king, and Mary forfeited her reputation and the life she had planned to mother God’s Son.  And Amy Charmichael?  Just another ordinary girl, with ordinary problems and troubles and fears and worries, who submitted and surrendered herself to God’s will. 

She was real, she was human, and she was a sinner – just like me.  She was not immune to the worries of placing everything in One who we can only trust will come through.  I love a story that took place when she was a missionary in Japan (before India), and she heard of a man possessed by six demons.  She prayed for God’s favor in casting them out, she fasted, and then she took a huge leap of faith and tried it.  “She told the crowd in the room that her mighty Lord Jesus could cast out the six spirits.  At the name of Christ a fearful paroxysm took hold of the man, hellish power was loosed, and blasphemies which even she could recognize as blasphemies poured from the man’s mouth.  He struggled, was forcibly held down, the women knelt and prayed, the struggle increased.  Satan seemed to be mocking them.  ‘Can you think how I felt then?’ Amy wrote.  ‘The Lord’s name dishonored among the heathen, and I had done it!  Far, far better never to have come!'”

Have you ever had an experience where you could do something that would require a huge leap of faith, but were paralyzed by worry over whether or not God would actually come through – whether you were understanding him correctly, whether you would look like a fool, whether people would just laugh because no mighty miracle occurred?  I can’t put my finger on an exact situation, but I know I’ve had this feeling many times. 

And it’s just so encouraging to realize that Amy was a girl just like me.  She was scared and embarrassed, but she didn’t let that stop her.  And God used her mightily, as we know.  (In the above story, the demons were cast out, and the man and his wife turned to Jesus). 

I find even more parallels with my life right now.  In one letter home, Amy wrote of how her heart broke when she drove past a wild Japanese party worshipping different spirits, how horrible it was to see the brokenness and emptiness so displayed.  And her description really doesn’t sound that different from a typical weekend here.  People go out, celebrate nothing, try to drink away their problems, dance like crazy, and do inappropriate things.  There’s such pain and emptiness hiding behind that wild abandon. 

I’m not called to India.  At least, not right now.  But I am called to live and work and love right here, in college. 

And it’s my prayer that I may be as obedient as Amy, as willing to put my emotions and fears aside, choosing instead to trust.


Entry filed under: college.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Joanna  |  November 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Amen! I simply love that book and so glad that you got to read it, too. It’s so inspiring and uplifting and encouraging!


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