In Others’ Words: The Love of God and Our Limited Vision
I cried when I heard that Elisabeth Elliot died on Monday, June 15. I know I am one of thousands mourning her death even as we smile at the thought of her passing “through the gates of splendor.” Elisabeth Elliot’s 1957 bestselling book Through the Gates of Splendor told the story of how her husband Jim and four other missionaries, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian, were martyred as they tried to make contact with the Huaroni in Ecuador.
Elisabeth Elliot’s writing influenced my life as a young believer, trying to grow in her faith and her understanding of God. One of my favorite books written by Elliot was Keep a Quiet Heart, a devotional based on excerpts from her newsletter. There were many quotes I could have shared here today to reflect her heart, her wisdom, her intimate walk with God … but I chose this one.
Because God does say he is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1) God does say to call upon him in time of trouble and we shall be saved. (Psalm 50:15) God does promise to protect us from harm. (Psalm 121:7)
And yet, bad things happen. We are harmed. We are hurt. We suffer. And sometimes we say “That’s life” and sometimes we say “Why, God?” and sometimes … sometimes in the dark of night our faith fails us.
My friend “Wise Guy” and I have discussed this. (I call him Wise Guy because that is what he is: wise.) And he said something profound: Yes, God does promise to keep us safe. But his definition of safety must be different than ours because of all the things we face in our lives.
Elisabeth Elliot put it this way: [God] will not necessarily protect us — not from anything that makes us like His Son.
Her vision of God was clear. She didn’t blink in the face of adversity. Didn’t waver in her trust of God.
In Your Words: How do you reconcile God’s will in our lives and His promise to protect us? What has God used in you live to change you, to transform you — to make you look more like His Son?
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