A Mentor Remembered: Elisabeth Elliot and Her Legacy

Today I wish to express my gratitude to God for giving my generation Elisabeth Elliot. I mentioned in an earlier post that I met Elisabeth and her husband Lars in South Carolina many years ago. Two years ago on this date she went home to be with her Lord.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with her life story through the vehicles of her books, radio messages, and public speaking. Some of you may have viewed movies that portrayed the incredible story of her husband along with his four missionary companions. God has used all of these things in my life to give me a greater glimpse of His glory.

Elisabeth shared a common bond with many MKs. She was born to missionary parents in Belgium and later moved to the United States where she attended Wheaton College. God joined her and fellow student Jim Elliot together in marriage and the rest is history.

Elisabeth and her daughter Valerie walking with the Auca women

After her husband was speared to death, Elisabeth remained in Ecuador, working among the Quichua tribe. In God’s providence, she met two Auca women who taught her their language. This led to her work among the Auca tribe, the very people who killed her husband.

During her time in Ecuador, she wrote three books: Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty, and The Savage, My Kinsmen. She would go on to author over twenty before dementia robbed her of this precious gift that blessed so many of us. She truly deserves the description as one of the most influential Christian women of our time.

I believe the title to her biography of Amy Charmichael encapsulates her life message—A Chance to Die. Isn’t that what she continually called us to, echoing the words of Jesus in Luke 9:23? In The Music of His Promises, she recounts the night before Christ was crucified and his words to the disciples—”The Son of Man goes as it has been determined.”  Elisabeth writes,

What agonies we would spare ourselves if we would remember that ours, too, is a way appointed. We need not ever imagine that our circumstances are in any other hands than those that held the beloved Son obedient unto death.

Elisabeth Elliot knew her identity resided in Christ, knowledge that impacted her every thought, word, and deed. She lived her life with an eternal perspective, not banking her days on things seen, but things unseen. She experienced much suffering accompanied by manifold joy, always confident that her Lord was producing the peaceful fruit of righteousness in her life that would one day bear an eternal weight of glory.

Thank you God for the great cloud of witnesses you have surrounded us with, and on this day in particular, the witness of Elisabeth Elliot.

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