What God Is to Me: Elisabeth Elliot (Part 2)

Bob RoaneJoy and Peace, Loving and Trusting God, Theology

Never again will they hunger or thirst. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:16-17)

A Faithful Missionary

Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) was one of the most influential Christian women of the 20th century. Her first husband, Jim, was killed in 1956 evangelizing the Huaorani people of the rain forest of Ecuador. Elisabeth later spent several years as a missionary to that same tribe. Many of the Huaorani were eventually converted to Christ, including some involved in spearing Jim Elliot to death, along with four other missionaries.

Elisabeth gathered these Scriptures as a young woman and I have written comments on them. She said often that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is always doing something in the world and in our individual lives. He is always doing the very best thing which we would choose if we knew as much as He does. She taught that faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. When we obey the Lord, we are trusting Him. And whoever trusts God, obeys God. The Lord is always at work to bring us to our full glory in Jesus Christ.

If you missed it, you can read What God Is to Me: Elisabeth Elliot (Part 1)

Meditate on these truths about our Lord and turn them into prayers and praises to Him.

Christ is My Strength, Fortress, and Refuge

O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress. To you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.” (Jer 16:19)

Elisabeth often quoted C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) who said: “Christ is the great central fact in world history. To Him everything looks forward or backward. All the lines of history converge upon Him….I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need….It is not your hold on Christ that saves, but His hold on you!” Elisabeth reminded us that the Lord is not interested in demonstrating how strong we are, but to show Himself strong on our behalf. Not showing what we can do, but what He can do. Our extreme needs are His opportunities for saving, helping, keeping, and loving us to the end! Christ never fails us!

Christ is My Hope

Jesus is my hope in the day of disaster….May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Jer 17:17; Rom 15:13)

Peter says: Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.1 Our hope in Christ is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.2 Elisabeth quoted missionary Adoniram Judson, “Our future is as bright as the promises of God.”

Christ is Our Dwelling Place.

The Lord is and has been our dwelling place throughout all generations (Psalm 90:1).

Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses, God’s friend and servant, reflecting on the Hebrews’ forty year wanderings in the wilderness. Even then, God did not abandon them, but traveled with them. The Lord created the earth for animals to inhabit, the sea for fish, the air for birds, and outer space for stars and planets. But the Lord made human beings in His image and likeness so that we would dwell and abide in fellowship with Him. “In Him we live and move and have our being….The life of every living thing is in the Lord’s hand, as well as the breath of all humankind….God holds in His hand our very breath and all our ways.”3

King David says, “You (the Lord) are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”4 Paul reminds us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at God’s right hand. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”5 Jesus is our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

The African-American spiritual declares: This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Future Grace

Near the Bible’s end, we read that Psalm 90:1 will be fulfilled at Jesus’ return, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away….Christ says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”6

Elisabeth Elliot urged us to wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.7 Elisabeth is now home with Christ. She was only a sinner saved by God’s grace, who received and rested on Jesus alone for salvation as He is offered to us in the gospel. Is that how you would describe yourself?

May God help us trust and obey Him until He takes us home or returns for us!

Prayer for Readiness: Lord Jesus, help us to be ready to greet you when you come in glory and bring us into the banquet of Heaven. Until that day, enable us more and more to resemble you, our Elder Brother. Keep on filling us with your Holy Spirit and with His righteousness, peace, and joy. Enable us to help others repent and believe on you, so that they be included in your family and be ready also for your appearing. In your name we pray. Amen.

To be continued. You can read What God Is to Me: Elisabeth Elliot (Part 3)

Notes (various translations used): 1 1 Pet 4:12-13.     2 Heb 6:19.     3 Acts 17:28; Job 12:10; Dan 5:23.     4 Psalm 32:7.     5 Col 3:1-4.     6 Rev 21:3-4; 22:20-21.     7 Titus 2:13-14.