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Amy Carmichael :: Nor Scrip—8. As We Have Heard, So Have We Seen

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Do doors of sorrow and of loss always lead into wealthy places? He who is known as Walker of Tinnevelly was taken from us in August 1912.

He had been a splendid friend. When first the children's work began he was at home, and his letters were doubtful, for he had never been in that which I have called the Underworld, and could not measure its need. But when, upon his return, he set himself to discover the true state of things, and knew them to be indeed a call, his attitude changed and he stood by us and was shelter from the smile that somehow was harder to bear than the scourge of the tongue. 'A faithful friend is a strong defence, and he that hath found such a one hath found a treasure.' Never were truer words.

Now he was suddenly taken from us. We had to learn to do without.

That month of August was full of trials of many kinds. A child died in painful circumstances. Very little money came in. Difficulties arose about a strip of land, just then purchased. Perplexing, wounding things happened, one after the other, and the many enemies of the work who till then had lain quiet, fearing our defender who was known as a strong brave man, seemed to spring out of the ground, and they compassed us about like bees.

One Sunday a registered letter came. It was a lawyer's letter dictated by a man who, after years of disappearance from the district, had unexpectedly reappeared; he claimed that a fraction of the soil we had bought was his, and demanded it back.

His relatives had sold it to us, believing his absence had given them the right to it, and we had never heard his name mentioned during the prolonged negotiation for that particular strip. It lay close to the bungalow, and was already being built upon, the nursery was half way up. Now the letter demanded the pulling down of what was built, 'Immediately,' otherwise the owner would take the matter to Court.

The air of Courts is the breath of life to a certain section of the Indian public. We had just been through two years of Court troubles (culminating in an acute six months for whose fees our Father sent us the cheque from London), and we had urgent reasons for not wanting to be plunged into this distress again. There was not only the land, there was the matter of the children's safety. One case leads to another. In work like this many a risk has to be run if anything vital is to be done. We earnestly prayed therefore to be delivered from any more going to Court.

Perhaps all this will seem small to the brave women of the present day; but we are not brave, and we never had before been without the help of a strong man's hand. India is not a chivalrous land. There were moments when we felt very weak and very terribly alone. And the gift book that month showed an unaccountable fall-Rs. 234 (£15 12s.) instead of about Rs. 1,000 (£66), which was our average expenditure then. Another Court case would fly off with rupees; for the formal Court fees were of course the least part of the expense. Altogether it was a difficult time, and personal sorrow in parting from our friend seemed the merest nothing in comparison with new care for the children's sake, and the sense of the loss his absence must mean to them.

'In your temptations run to the promises; they be our Lord's branches hanging over the water that our Lord's silly half-drowned children may take a grip of them.' 'I will in no wise fail thee, nor will I in any wise forsake thee. The idea of fail is that of losing hold, so as to withdraw the support rendered by the sustaining grasp: that of forsake, of deserting or leaving alone in the field of contest, or in a position of suffering.' Westcott's note on the promise opened it then, and we entered into a new room of quietness in the midst of strife.

Weeks passed, and no more lawyers' letters came. We went on with the building of the room to be called Faith. And from that day to this we have never heard a single word of or from that threatener of our peace.

And the money? This is the statement of Gifts and Expenditure for the year, given in pounds for the convenience of readers at home:

£ s. d.

Gifts 1,050 5 3 ½

Expenditure 787 16 8

'Baskets'* 262 8 7 ½

* See Chapter IX.

Among the vitalized words of that time we all remember this: 'As we have heard, so have we seen,' and indeed all the words of that Psalm of deliverance, the forty-eighth, which was the Psalm we were reading together on the Sunday when that letter came, threatening us with such hosts of troubles. 'God blew upon them, and they were scattered.'

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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