The Stone-Breaker

(The Old man, Sir Nameless, hears from the Shepherd of the great and noble stream that flows from the well he has guarded.)
Wondering, the old man pondered these sayings. Slowly his eyes brightened as a fond thought came to his lips in words: “Do they speak of me? Do they know who guards the well?” Tenderly the Shepherd looked into the old man’s eyes, tenderly he answered him:“Nay, they know nothing of thee. What they know is the King’s Bounty, what they see is the King’s smile.”
Then Constant looked, fearing to see a shadow fall upon the old man’s eager hope. But, the old man was looking into the Shepherd’s face, and the shadow never came again. Instead his hope brightened into joy as he clasped his hands together and cried,
“And that is enough! O my heart, surely it is enough! It is ten thousand times more than enough!”
And from that moment some thought which had troubled him long, troubled no more.
-Sir Knight  of the splendid way, W.E.Cule.

“THEE must never say,” said the Wise and Well-loved Robert Wilson of Keswick, as we drove in the gig along a Cumberland road many years ago, “thee must never even let thyself think, ‘I have won that soul for Christ.'”.

He pulled up the old horse, Charlie, and stopped near a stone-breaker, who, squatting beside his pile of stones, was hammering steadily.

“I will tell thee a story,” the dear old man said, pointing with his whip to the stone-breaker who tapped stolidly on and never looked up.
“There was one who asked a stone-breaker at work by the roadside, ‘Friend, which blow broke the stone?’
And the stone-breaker answered,‘The first one, and the last one, and every one between.’

Perhaps among the influences that helped to shape, not Kohila only, but all of us, this story has its part, for I cannot remember ever hearing even the most ardent say anything contrary to the spirit of that story; nor have we ever made any list of the souls won by the Grace of the Lord – for whatsoever is done, He is the doer of it.

Some of us have had the joy of “the first blow,” if such a word be used for an influence invisible and often so gentle; some have shared in the “every one between,” and rejoiced to share. Some have had the chance to give the last blow that breaks the stone.

The joy of the Winner and helper of souls is something apart from every other joy, but it is tarnished the moment the ‘ I’ comes in. God save us from our ‘ I .

Once among Kohila’s patients was a young girl whom she had first loved as a little child in the nursery, when she was the Accal in charge.
Later on this child went through a difficult path, as  so many do, and finally, having passed through it, she became as Kohila had once been – a helping younger sister in a nursery.

One day as we talked together, this young girl told of how Kohíla had helped her, and of how she had learned to conquer the temptations that came to weaken her as she ran her race. “I sing this to myself,” she said. “This” was a rhyme written to help our younger girls and boys to understand what self-discipline meant. Their Annächie, Peace of God, had set it to a simple chant-like tune, for no Indian forgets anything that has sung itself into the mind; and she began to chant softly,

When I refuse the easy thing for love of my dear Lord,
And when I choose the harder thing for love of my dear Lord,
And do not make a fuss or speak a single grumbling word,
That is discipline.

When everything seems to go wrong and yet I will not grouse,
When it is hot, and I am tired yet I will not grouse,
But sing a song and do my work in school and in the house,
That is discipline.

When Satan whispers, “Scamp your work,” to say to him, “I won’t,”
When Satan whispers, “slack a bit,” to say to him, “I won’t,”
To rule myself and not to wait for others’ Do and don’t?,
That is discipline.

When I look up and triumph over every sinful thing,
The things that no one knows about, the cowardly, selfish thing.
And when with heart and will I live to please my glorious King,
That is discipline.

To trample on that curious thing inside me that says “I,”
To think of others always, never, never of that “I,”
To learn to live according to my Saviour’s word, “Deny”
That is discipline.

Which blow broke the stone?

Her prayer-friend at home? Kohila, who, as Accal in her nursery and then as nurse in hospital, influenced her life?
The Accals, such as one Whose name means Perfection, and Rukma (Radiance), Who helped her through her diffìcult patch?
The Sítties, whose self-forgetful lives inspired her? The Annächie, who taught the little chant that came to her rescue in moments of stress, and who led her and many another in these paths uphill?Those Who in Workroom and office did the thousand unseen things without which this family could not go on?

Which blow broke the stone?

The first one and the last one and every one between.

Among several of Whom we know whom Kohila helped to win (and here it chanced that hers was the last blow) was a woman from an unresponsive village who had never been moved even to inquire about the Way. Our young nursery-nurses had often talked with her and tried to interest her, but in vain. They were “simply talking”, she thought, and she turned an unconcerned and uncomprehending face upon them till she saw Kohila nursing a sick baby.She said nothing for a While. Then one day she said to her,”Why do you do it? Why do you Work for this baby night and day? What makes you do it?”

“It is nothing in me,” said Kohíla; “it is the love of my Lord Jesus. It is He who gives me love for this baby.”
“I have heard talk about Him,” said the woman, “but I thought it was only talk; now I have seen, and I know it is not mere talk.” And she listened to the Gospel, and the Lord opened her heart, and she came to Him in truth, though she knew what it would cost When she returned home.

Two months after she had returned home–a strong woman -she was dead. That is all We know, except that death for her meant the end of what she had known must come: sharp persecution for the sake of her new-found Lord; not peace, but a sword.

“There were others. There was Mercy of God, who came to us too ill to recover, and to whom Seetha Sittie was the first to speak of the love of our Lord Jesus,” said a young nurse, as we talked of Kohila and of her earnest use of every opportunity.
“Kohíla was one who often used to sing to her and talk with her. She asked for baptism and she was baptized; and she lived after that in great peace till our Lord Jesus came for her and then she said, ‘Jesus! Lord Jesus!’ and went home to Him.”

Which blow broke the stone?

The first one and the last one and every one between. Those  who prayed and gave, and so made it posslble for us to save ch11dren and build nurseries and hospital; the builders;the doctors and nurses; and, looking farther back, all Who influenced the young
girls whose lives and Witness showed forth their love of the Lord.

And to them all the Word is, “Let them exult before God: let them be delighted with joy,” for “the King of the forces of the beloved, of the Beloved, will even grant them for the beauty of the house, to divide the spoils.”

We have seen many victories of Divine Love. Perhaps Mimosa is best known to our friends. And When she entered into the Presence of her Lord, and in the Place of Healing and the House of Prayer the girls played the chimes-the Joy-bells, we call them-we could all but see her pleasure and surprise, as one and another of her unknown fellow-lovers welcomed her into the beauty of the
House.

-By Amy Carmichael (From chapter 26 of ‘Kohila: The shaping of an Indian Nurse’)

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One thought on “The Stone-Breaker

  1. Pingback: The Stone-Breaker | Sujithsamuel's Blog

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