If by Amy Carmichael

Published by Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania 19034

No copyright


How “IF” Came to be Written

 

One evening a fellow-worker brought me a problem about a younger one who was missing the way of Love. This led to a wakeful night, for the word at such times is always, “Lord, is it I?” Have I failed her anywhere? What do I know of Calvary Love? And then sentence by sentence the “If’s” came, almost as if spoken aloud to the inner ear.

Next morning they were shared with another (for they had been written down in pencil in the night), and then a few others shared. After this some copies were printed on our little handpress for the Fellowship only; and that led to this booklet.

At first when it was asked for, we felt, “No, it is far too private for that.” But if it can help any to understand what the life of love means and to live that life, then it is not ours to refuse.

Some of the “If’s” appear to be related to pride, selfishness, or cowardice, but digging deeper we come upon an unsuspected lovelessness at the root of them all. The pages in Part II are not meant to be read one after the other. Perhaps only one “If” here and there may have the needed word, and, leaving the others, the reader may find something in the last pages.

And in case any true follower be troubled by the “then I know nothing,” I would say, the thought came in this form, and I fear to weaken it. But here, as everywhere, the letter kills. St. Paul counted the loss of all things as nothing that he might know Him whom he already knew; and the soul, suddenly illuminated by some fresh outshining of the knowledge of the love of God shown forth on Calvary, does not stop to measure how much or how little it knew of that love before. Penetrated, melted, broken before that vision of love, it feels that indeed all it ever knew was nothing, less than nothing.

It is clear, I think, that such a booklet as this is not meant for everyone, but only for those who are called to be undershepherds. And there are some of them for whom it has no word. They have already entered into that of which I have impelled to write. A.C.

 

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