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Amy Carmichael :: Nor Scrip—15. Limelight and Another Illumination

toggle collapse

From a P.S.A. notice:

'Subject. A renewed world-No sorrow. No pain. No death. No collection.'-Local paper.

And Punch's comment is, 'The last item sounds almost too good to be true.'

'I am not sure that you are right about limelight.' (And the benefits of large ways of advertisement were emphasized.) 'Faith is essential, but faith sitting still and waiting for miracles, if not negative, is at least intransitive. Faith without works is dead.'

This, from a barrister in India, concluded with, 'You may not remember that I had a very full knowledge of the procedure adopted with these Temple children. I had a case in which the dedication was disputed from a very different point of view' (than ours, he meant), 'namely heirship, and I think we got the whole truth though possibly not nothing but the truth.' Then the writer enclosed a gift for the work, thus cancelling most delightfully his previous argument. For did he need the limelight to move him to pity and to help?

Punch on 'No collection,' and our legal friend on the limelight, are first in a bunch of letters from which I quote some paragraphs never written for print.

'I have felt very much impressed with the need of your special work and longed to help; but as my husband is only a working man I could only give you my prayers, and leave the issue with God.

'But now I have just received a very unexpected legacy due to me two years ago, and I hasten to send the amount by a post-office order for ten pounds in the Lord's name towards the nurseries.'

The writer lives in one of our colonies. The address she gave was insufficient to trace her, and for a long time she was unthanked. Could anything have been more chilling to such a giver? But unchilled she wrote again, and this time her gift was £50. And she is the wife of a carpenter, not wealthy. We put her letters next that one about the limelight, and blessed God for these proofs that earth's limelight is not needed, for we do not know how to manipulate those little startling jets. Better surely, ten thousand times better, the quiet light that flows from love. The love of the Lord passes all things for illumination.

Yet again came a letter worded in that strangely suggestive way. 'I am impelled to send you a cheque for £100 which goes by this mail to the Bank of Madras. What a joy to know that God is watching your need and seeing beforehand that it is sent in time from His treasury.' And again, from another in the same year: 'I have made out another cheque for you; I have been impelled to do it. I had been considering it for some days and felt it was more than I could afford; but somehow today something said to me, "Go and do it," and I have asked the Lord to accept and bless it. How lovely it would be to hear that it just lifts you over some great difficulty.'

In truth it did. For it came at a time when the rupee was at its worst; a pound from England then meant only six rupees fourteen annas, or less than ten shillings, and its purchasing power was three shillings and eight pence. But the Lord sent this gift to us in rupees, five hundred rupees, which meant that nothing was lost.

But it was not only the coming of these larger gifts that touched us to the heart: 'Yesterday I went to see a friend who has rheumatoid arthritis. I remember her when I was about five years old and she was unable to walk then. Now she is almost blind. She often has to have some arrangement to hold up her eyelids. She cannot lift her hands at all.'

'She said: "F., I have two bits of gold I want to give for the work. I've held on to them for a long time, and last night I was thinking of it, and I felt I ought not to hold on to them any more. I haven't any more, dear. My sister gave me one and my brother another."

Then I had to raise the rugs and take her purse from her pocket and take the two half-sovereigns out myself. I could hardly bear to do it. I saw how very precious they were to her. Yet it is to God she is giving them, and even I have found what riches He gives for little self-sacrifices. But they are a precious two half-sovereigns.'

'And He looked up and saw…a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.' Two mites, two half-sovereigns. He looked and saw them.

No, it was not alone the gifts of those who could give in hundreds that came as direct and blessed reliefs, and still come. The gifts if counted separately would total many thousands, they do not average large sums. And the very smallest of all is one whose dear little cheer comes oftenest:

'Betty (aged nine) fished in her pocket and with her face all working brought me two bright pennies for you. I promised I would send them, and they go to you wrapped with love.'

There have been days when Fear and Faith like two live persons stood on either side of us, and then little Betty came with her two bright pennies, and Fear fled.


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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