Did you ever pray for something and didn’t get an answer—but found out later the reason why? It happened to an Irish lassie in India, of all places.
Amy Carmichael was born Dec. 16, 1867 in Belfast, Ireland. She attended fashionable British boarding schools and had a pleasant life until she was 18. Her father, owner of a prosperous flour mill, died then, and the change in circumstances forced Amy to quit school and return home, spending the next ten years helping her mother care for six younger siblings
When Amy was a child she desperately wanted blue eyes; hers were brown. So she prayed in faith that God would give her blue eyes. The next morning the little girl hurried to the mirror, expecting to see blue eyes looking back at her. She was disappointed to see the same brown ones.
Hold on to that thought. We’ll come back to it later.
Amy became involved in helping the poor wherever she lived, despite a physical condition called neuralgia, which often left her weak and fatigued. She accompanied her pastor on Saturday evenings, passing out food and religious tracts to the “shawlies,” poorer girls who worked in factories.
Charity work in Christ’s name became Amy’s life. She traveled to India and spent the next 55 years without a furlough, telling the poor about the God of heaven, who treated everyone the same and loved them so much He sent his Son to take the punishment for their sins.
One of the things which bothered Amy in India was the use of little girls for temple prostitution. Often, poorer families would sell their small girls to temple priests to earn money. Other times they hoped to gain favor with their heathen idols by giving small daughters to forced prostitution in the temple.
That all changed when a child named Preena, one of the tiny captives, ran away during the night, found Amy, and begged the Irish woman to be her "Amma" or mother. That began a chain of events which allowed this missionary to begin a work called Dohnavur (DOH-nuh-voor) to feed, train and educate over a thousand tiny temple runaways.
Back to Amy’s prayer for blue eyes. Several years after that prayer, she worked tirelessly to rescue little girls from the clutches of wicked heathen priests. It was dangerous work that could have cost her life, had she been apprehended. In order to disguise herself, she rubbed coffee grounds onto her skin, making her blend in with Indian women visiting the temple. But what if her eyes had been blue?
God knew Amy needed brown eyes to accomplish His purpose for her life. And it was then she began to thank God for NOT answering her childish prayer.
When we are tempted to fret over what appears to be unanswered prayer, remember the God of heaven has far-reaching vision. What looks like today’s failure could be tomorrow’s success.
God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.
Any thoughts on prayer? Feel free to use the comment box below.