These are some quotes I found in Amy Carmichael's book "Gold Cord". Some are written by her, and some are gems she's passed on to us. :-)
"It matters nothing at all what we are, provided we are entirely willing to be made the instruments of His will, His agents in this world. I do not think we know the meaning of the words strength until we have fathomed our utter weakness."-Josephine Butler
"A lost battle is a battle one believes lost. There are three courses: you can retire, stand fast, attack. I forbid the first. You can take your choice of the other two."
"'May you obtain strength and support to walk in paths unworn, at the edge of precipices where God alone can keep us in safety,' Didon wrote from his prison in Corbara. How salutary such a walk must be to the soul, for look where one will, in books and in life, those unworn paths are trodden. Unworn? That is not a true word. Never do we go far on any path of perplexity or pain without seeing the footsteps of Him who is invisible, leading on before."
"The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath."
"Beloved, should the brook run dry
And should no visible supply
Gladden thine eyes, then wait to see
God work a miracle for thee.
Thou canst not want, for God has said
He will supply His own with bread.
His word is sure. Creative power
Will work for thee from hour to hour,
And thou, with all Faith's host, shalt prove
God's Hand of power, God's Heart of Love."
-Margaret E. Barber
~*~*~*~*~*~In the section of the book that I am reading now, Miss Carmichael is talking about how they prayed for many years about extending their ministry to rescue and reach out to the boys, as well as the girls, who were sold to the temple and to travelling theatres. She told an absolutely heart-breaking story about how a Christian Indian man set out to rescue two little boys, brothers, in particular, and how, even though he almost rescued the younger one twice, he was never able to succeed. "The impenetrable silence of India has swallowed up that woman [who owned them] and those boys." It was so tragic that I would have been crying if I had not been aware of three other people in the car who would have looked at me and made comments.
Following the story, however, Amy talks about God's care over us, who are over more value than sparrows. She then says, "And a story of comfort comes to me, as I think of those little brothers and of others over whom we would write "In vain" if it were not for that glorious "Not in vain in the Lord" that cannot be refuted by anything that can ever happen....At the end of the day, shall we not find them all [the children they were unable to rescue]? Will not all our forlorn hopes look different then, all our winters turn to spring, all our nights to dawn? In this fight for the souls for whom Christ died, may we ever say, 'In vain'?"
Though I have never had such intense spiritual battles for a soul as Miss Carmichael and her co-workers had, I have had opportunities to leave behind gospel witness in the form of a tract or a word, and have even had a chance to witness online to people I've met through blogs and forums (like Jessica, who commented on Hooks and Needles, and some athiests whom I met on the sewing forum that I am on.) Sometimes I, and we all, may wonder if the words I/we said made any difference, whether the devil just snatched them up as soon as they hit the ground. But we have the assurance that our labor is never in vain in the Lord, His word never fails what He sent it out to do. We may never know what happened to those people we attempted to reach, or how the Lord has worked in their hearts, until we arrive in eternity. Should that discourage us? Never! "Not in vain"; Amy Carmichael emphasizes that very clearly in her book. Let us continue to serve the Lord, and leave the results up to Him.
I hope you have been encouraged as I have! :-)