Today I thought I’d write about one of my favorite writers and greatest spiritual inspirations, Elisabeth Elliot.
For those of you who don’t know who she is, she was a well-known author and the widow of the beautiful and inspiring martyr, Jim Elliot, who died in 1956. She wrote such books as Let Me Be a Woman, Passion and Purity, Shadow of the Almighty, etc. All books which my sister and I have.
I don’t remember when I first learned about her, but I think it may have been sometime before her death (which was last year in the summer of 2015). My sister and I were reading some of Eric and Leslie Ludy’s books and she was mentioned in their writings. Soon after that, I heard about her death and I started to read more about her. Stumbling upon some of her quotes immediately captured my attention. There was such maturity in her words, such keen understanding, such wisdom – she wrote in a way that my feminine heart could identify with.
I learned more about her and then bought her book Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. It was there that I learned about the death of her husband, how he was martyred, and the joy with which he went to his death. Through his letters and journal entries, I gained entrance into a heart that was sold out for Christ, a soul that was bent on sharing the gospel, and a mind that was so intensely human and yet so extraordinary in its spiritual maturity.
Time and time again, I return to Elisabeth’s writings and my soul gets fed on such quotes as:
“The secret is Christ in me. Not me in a different set of circumstances.”
“We never know what God has up His sleeve. You never know what might happen; you only know what you have to do now.”
“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”
“God has promised to supply our needs. What we don’t have now we don’t need now.”
“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.”
“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.’”
“Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought. That is – with discipline.”
“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.”
“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”
“The will of God is never exactly what you might expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end its going to be a lot bigger and a lot better.”
“Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all… But the things that we feel most deeply we ought to learn to be silent about, at least until we have talked them over thoroughly with God.”
“Is it more important to understand than to obey? Is it more important to me to know than to believe?”
“When people are depressed, they are almost invariably angry, and the anger almost always leads to fear. Put your trust in God.”
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”
“Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.”
“The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I’m a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.”
“We are not meant to die merely in order to be dead. God could not want that for the creatures to whom he has given the breath of life. We die in order to live.”
“When you don’t know what to do next, just do the thing in front of you.”
“I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”
“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.”
“If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.”
“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on him who has all things safely in his hands.”
“He says no in order that He may, in some way we cannot imagine, say yes. All His ways with us are merciful. His meaning is always love.”
“Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.”
“You are loved with an everlasting love. And underneath are the everlasting arms.”
I hope these words bless you as much as they do me. Elisabeth Elliot, and her martyred husband, were truly a man and woman of a great God.