“How can the soul of Christendom be numb to it all?” Amy Carmichael’s question relevantly echoes through the one hundred years since the first telling of her story of the little Star of India in Plowed Under. CLC Publications has just released a new edition of this book and many caught in today’s melee of cultural relevance and apathetic faith will find encouragement and challenge within its pages. Could it be that through the eyes of a young Indian girl breaking free from the oppression of Hinduism and India’s caste system that we Westerners might be jolted from our spiritual dementia back to wonder and awe at the cross of Christ?
Through the gifted story telling of Amy Carmichael, Plowed Under moved my heart in three ways: I am awakened afresh to the beauty of the cross and its Christ. Secondly, I have been swept with compassionate concern for “India’s (and all the world’s, for that matter) millions who are as though the Savior of the world had never died on Calvary, had never risen, was never to return” (PU). Lastly, I am inspired to greater faithfulness in prayer by the examples of its power.
Are you too not moved by this description of prayer?
“For prayer is not emotion, it is traffic between earth and heaven, ‘a commerce of love.’ Our ships set sail for heavenly shores; they do not return empty, it is impossible that they should, but we are not told what will bring them back. We think in terms of time; God thinks in terms of eternity. We see the near end of the thread on which are strung our moments, minutes, hours, days, like pearls on a string; the other end is out of view, and yet the thread is one, indivisible. We call the near end time, and the far end eternity, as though somewhere the thread broke (at death perhaps). But it is not so. We are living in eternity now. God save us, then from the trivial, the fearful, in prayer as in life. It is an inspiring thing to live in the Presence of the Eternal. It makes it so that we can pile the impossible mountain-high, and still know that nothing can be more certain than this: The Lord our God and our Redeemer does hear and answer prayer” (PU).
The story of Star’s bold following after the call of Christ at the expense of her family and status challenge our comfort with lesser allegiance. Hearing of God’s faithfulness to her in the dark hours makes one wonder what sweet fellowship we forsake for fear of completely abandoning ourselves to “the love of God [that] is always brave” (PU). Star’s life of courageous obedience requests we examine our own and where it is found wanting or wrecked to “gather itself up as the wave gathers itself up before it curls over; let it fall even as the wave falls and is shattered on the shore; then broken at the feet of its Lord—nothing kept back, not even its fears—it will be empowered for a new gathering up of spiritual energies, a new pouring forth” (PU). Indeed, we are called to “do more than play with life” (PU).
As only Amy can do, she shares a riveting remembrance of redemption that turns one’s own heart to gaze on the beauty of the Father’s love, the Son’s sacrifice, and the Spirit’s ministry. Plowed Under is a powerful dose of gospel and grace to inoculate us from the heart’s coldness, trial’s discouragement and the world’s triviality. In it, the loveliness of Jesus is without competition and the call to faithful obedience, urgent.
In short, Plowed Under is an invitation to go deeper with Jesus than wherever it is that you are with him today.
Plowed Under can be purchased here. In it you will find more wisdom and grace than can be gathered in one read. To return to it again and again will pay delightful dividends.
A special thank you to CLC Publications for the reprint of this incredible work and for the invitation (and free copy of the book) to review it.