Book Review: Plowed Under by Amy Carmichael


I “read” my first Amy Carmichael biography when I was probably about five years old. My mom read With Daring Faith to my sisters and me at the lunch table—a chapter every day.

I was not only fascinated—I was changed. Although I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, Amy’s walk with the Lord, commitment to pure motives in spiritual work, and passion to reach “the least of these” made a deep impression on me. As a teenager, I read a fuller biography of her life, A Chance to Die.

This summer, I had the opportunity to read a newly republished book Amy wrote in 1935: Plowed Under: A Young Girl’s Obedience. God’s Ever-Present Grace.

This relatively short read (140 pages—I read it during a day of travel) was encouraging on multiple levels.

First, it is the testimony of a little Hindu girl who found God. (If you’ve read other books about Amy’s life, you’ll remember Arulai “Star”—one of Amy’s first children rescued in India.) It’s a testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness to a searching heart who found Him to be superior to other gods and sufficient for a lifetime of labor.

Second, woven throughout the story is insight into Christian ministry and how God upholds and blesses our efforts—even when they seem least fruitful. Because this story is told from Amy’s perspective rather than from Star’s, we see the perceived ups and downs, victories and defeats of attempting to minister to and lead Star to salvation and spiritual growth. In this testimony, there are lessons on prayer and perseverance as well as shining evidences of God’s faithfulness.

Third, as the title suggests, the book highlights how God uses the difficult times in our lives—at every level of Christian maturity and service—to reap a spiritual harvest that brings glory to God.