Since the death of Elisabeth Elliot on June 15, I have read much about her life and mission, and maybe some of you have also. This post is a brief introduction for those of you who may not be familiar with her life and work, both of which are worthy of emulation. She influenced my early life in Christ powerfully. She was a saint not to be missed.
Elisabeth Elliot was a worker in God's fields. She trusted Him and depended on Him for all things and in all things. She first came to public notice after the death of her missionary husband in Ecuador in 1956. Jim Elliot and four other men were martyred as they attempted to establish a relationship with the Auca Indian tribe. After her husband's death, Elisabeth felt God's call to remain in Ecuador with her toddler-aged daughter, and she eventually established a relationship with her husband’s killers. By God’s grace working through this radical act of obedience, the tribe came to see their need for Christ and became Christ followers. Elisabeth chronicled these events in her books "Through Gates of Splendor" and "The Savage My Kinsman."
Eventually, Elisabeth returned to the United States and became a well known speaker and writer. She authored more than twenty books dealing with a range of subjects and hosted the radio show "Gateway to Joy" from 1988-2001.
What sets Elisabeth Elliot's life and ministry apart from so many others was her nearly complete lack of self-absorption. She was a sensible, unsentimental, lovely, and loving woman. She was widowed twice, and she faced all the temptations common to us all, writing about loss and pain, loneliness and grief, discipline and obedience, passion and purity, and joy… always joy. Her writings shone the brilliant, hope-filled light of the gospel on every event, every circumstance, with an immediacy that’s lacking in our "selfie” generation, which experiences life through the lens of self rather than God's redemptive love and promises. Jesus' finished work was her absolute true north. Because she depended on God utterly, her writings reflect a rare intimacy with the Almighty. Elisabeth Elliot understood that her surrendered life was not hers, that she lived by God’s grace and for God’s glory.
Elisabeth Elliot can serve as a mentor to us all. I want to encourage each of you to peruse this list of her writings, find one that relates to a present struggle or interest, and spend some time with her this summer. Learn from her and then emulate her rare, vital faith.
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. — Hebrews 13:7
Books by Elisabeth Elliot:
Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot
Through Gates of Splendor
These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?
Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity
The Savage My Kinsman
Furnace of the Lord: Reflections on the Redemption of the Holy City
Twelve Baskets of Crumbs
Let Me Be a Woman
The Journals of Jim Elliot
Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under God's Control
Discipline: The Glad Surrender
Love Has a Price Tag
The Mark of a Man
Keep a Quiet Heart
A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael
A Path Through Suffering
Mercy and Our Pain
The Path of Loneliness: Finding Your Way Through the Wilderness to God
No Graven Image
Secure in the Everlasting Arms
The Music of His Promises: Listening to God with Love, Trust and Obedience
The Shaping of a Christian Family
God's Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light
Taking Flight: Wisdom for Your Journey
Be Still My Soul