If by Amy Carmichael: Book Review


The copy of this book in my library would be more properly titled When than If. I can’t read more than a few pages (if that) of Part 2 without being convicted at the weakness of my love.

Part 1 of this little book is really an introduction. In a few short pages, Amy shares how the book came to be written and how to read it.

Part 2 is the meat of the book. Here we are invited to compare our love for the Lord and others to the gold standard of love—the Cross. Each page (in the printed version) is comprised of one paragraph that begins with the word “If” and ends in the phrase “then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

  • If, in dealing with one who does not respond, I weary of the strain and slip from under the burden, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself; if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Just to select those three examples was a difficult task, for each of the “If”s are penetrating and convicting. Amy does not write, however, with a conviction that discourages, but with a conviction that directs the reader’s attention to the Cross. And as I look there, I’m reminded that Calvary love—Jesus’ love—is possible. For He can love through me.

Deep unto deep, O Lord,
Crieth in me,
Gathering strength, I come,
Lord, unto Thee.

Jesus of Calvary,
Smitten for me,
Ask what Thou wilt, but give
Love to me.

-Amy Carmichael

This book is available in print or kindle.