Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:10, NIV
These words from the apostle Paul remind me of Amy Carmichael. Though bedridden as a result of an accident some twenty years before her death, and in almost constant pain, she continued to minister through her devotional writings and poetry. Her keen insight and her refreshingly spiritual writings revealed the depth of her walk with Christ. She remains a striking example of a Christian whose physical suffering enabled her to reflect the character of Christ. She lived a life of rejoicing in the midst of tribulation. Her face radiated the love ot Christ, and her life epitomized the saintly stature the surrendered Christian can reach if he reacts to suffering by rejoicing in it.During those years of physical pain, Amy Carmichael wrote the many books that have blessed untold thousands around the world. Without the “blessings” of being confined to her bed, she might have been too busy to write.
There is a story about Martin Luther going through a period of depression and discouragement. For days his long face graced the family table and dampened the family’s home life. One day his wife came to the breakfast table all dressed in black, as if she were going to a funeral service. When Martin asked her who had died, she replied, “Martin, the way you’ve been behaving lately, I thought God had died, so I came prepared to attend His funeral.”Her gentle but effective rebuke drove straight to Luther’s heart, and as a result of that lesson the great Reformer resolved never again to allow worldly care, resentment, depression, discouragement, or frustration to defeat him. By God’s grace, he vowed, he would submit his life to the Savior and reflect His grace in a spirit of rejoicing, whatever came. With Paul he would shout, “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV).When was the last time you praised God in the midst of despair? Don’t wait until you “feel like it” or you’ll never do it. Do it, and then you’ll feel like it!