“Thy Good and Comfortable Word”
Lover of souls, Thee have I heard,
Thee will I sing, for sing I must,
Thee will I sing, for sing I must,
Thy good and comfortable word
Hath raised my spirit from the dust.
In dusty ways my feet had strayed,
And foolish fears laid hold on me,
Until what time I was afraid,
I suddenly remembered Thee.
Remembering Thee, I straight forgot,
What otherwhile had troubled me;
It was as if it all were not,
I only was aware of Thee.
Of Thee, of Thee alone, aware,
I rested me, I held me still,
The blessed thought of Thee, most Fair,
Dispelled the brooding sense of ill.
And quietness about me fell,
And Thou didst speak: my spirit heard;
I worshipped and rejoiced; for well
I knew Thy comfortable word.
Whoso hath known that comforting,
The inward touch that maketh whole,
How can he ever choose but sing
To Thee, O Lover of his soul.
Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her main ministry was rescuing children from immoral duties in the Hindu temples, and then raising them in the Christian faith at Dohnavur Fellowship. The children often sang songs of praise to God throughout the day; this was a key part of their upbringing! Amy did not have an easy life. After a painful injury, she spent her latter decades as an invalid. These experiences enabled her to write straight from the heart of God to comfort those who faced trials and difficulties, and to challenge them to rise up to the call of God on their lives no matter what.
I wanted to share an Amy Carmichael poem with these magnolia pictures, so I thumbed through my dog-eared copy of her book Toward Jerusalem which I've had since college. It was hard picking. Perhaps "Bud of Joy" would have been more fitting for the pictures, but that one didn't "speak" to me at the moment. I also like "Wandering Thoughts" - I remember that going deep into me one hard year. "Love Through Me" and "The Sign" and "Cape Comorin" are other old favorites which I shared at our ladies' Bible study two weeks ago, since our lesson mentioned Amy Carmichael.
When I finally settled on "Thy Comfortable Word", I did a Google search on the title so I wouldn't have to type in all the stanzas. The top entry on the list? Mine! Apparently, I had included it in one of my old e-magazines over eight years ago, the same issue in which I announced the birth of my youngest daughter Melody. If I'm not mistaken, I think I remember breathing out these poems' lines during labor. (I really did strange things like that.) I do know, based on a note I included with it in that e-magazine, that I sent one of my older daughters to grab the book from the shelf one day when I was feeling really low. It could have been a day when I felt like that first and last magnolia in the pictures above, with the stamens falling out of the center, just lying there disconnected in a heap. As I read the poem then, I could sense the comfort of God wash over me, his inward touch that made me whole. Read it again, and maybe it will bless you now, too. Perhaps these links about magnolias, Amy Carmichael poems, and lessons I learned from mothering Melody will also encourage you. Enjoy...
- Still Life Magnolias
- Little Gem's First Bloom and the Day of Small Things
- “A Parent’s Prayer” by Amy Carmichael
- Melody, My Bud of Joy (with a poem by Amy Carmichael)
- The Password of Praise
- Mommy, Can I Help You?
- Simple Shoes
- Melody and Bab
P.S. My daughter Julia is about to give birth to her first child any day now. Say a prayer for her, will you? Funny thing is, the midwife who is supposed to deliver baby Lucas also delivered my little Melody. We didn't make that connection until about a month ago. How time flies...