Yesterday, a friend and I happened to be talking about Amy Carmichael who was a missionary who worked in India for 55 years. I recalled a story I'd heard about her which has had a great deal of influence on me as to how I view God's response to our prayers. I've shared this story here before but I think it is one that is worth sharing again.
When Amy was a girl growing up in Ireland, she had been taught that God always answers prayer. I believe it was before her fifth or sixth birthday that she got the idea to pray and ask God to give her blue eyes like her mother had. Amy did not like her "plain" brown eyes. I on the other hand was a bit sad when I lost my brown eyes and they turned hazel when I was seven.
Amy went to bed that evening after saying her prayers. She fully expected that in the morning, a pair of blue eyes would be staring back at her from the mirror. Eagerly, she jumped out of bed the next morning and expectantly looked into the mirror... only to be staring into a pair of brown eyes!
She was crushed! God hadn't answered her prayer. Then she heard the question asked (if I recall she was never sure if it was her mother or not) "Isn't no an answer?" Yes... no is an answer and sometimes God says no to our requests.
The story gets better though. I believe that God has reasons for saying no. I suspect most of the time we won't ever know why but sometimes God shows us the "why". He did so with Amy only it was many years later, when she was in India as a missionary.
Amy was horrified to learn of the child prostitution trade endorsed by the nice, respectable "religious" people in India. Poor families would sell their children to the temple and then the children would be put to "work".
She knew she could not rescue all of these children yet at the same time, she could not idly stand by! As a white European, there was no way she could get into those temples but if she looked Indian...
With the help of native friends, she was able to tint her skin and color her hair. She was also able to dress the part and was fluent in the language. Her "disguise" was very good. It was mentioned to her that it was a good thing that she didn't have eyes like so many of her countrymen. Hers, fortunately, were brown... just like the eyes of the native people.Â
With a jolt, Amy realized this was true and now... now she understood exactly why God had said no to her request. Her eyes were brown for a reason.
I've thought about this story often over the years and even more so as I have faced health issues. I have realized in my own life that God can and does say no at times but I can be confident that when he does... he has reasons and his reasons are always good.
You O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Ps. 18:28
All good things come out of Ireland
I love this story, I could listen to it over and over and over.
And.. all my kids have deep sunk dark dark brown eyes, just like their daddy. But you and I .. we are real Irish for we have the hazel eyes to go along with the firey blood
I love this story. Thanks for sharing it. I love the part about isn't no an answer? Cool stuff. Top of the morning to you!