I was in my early 20s and returning from a year of college in Japan when a friend invited me to hear Elisabeth Elliot speak in Kansas City.
She lit that auditorium of more than 18,000 people on fire.
As you most likely know by now, Elliot passed away on June 14 at the age of 88. She was a heroine of the faith, one of the most influential Christian women in the 20th century.
Here was a woman the world first met in 1956 when her husband, Jim Elliot, was among the five missionaries speared to death by the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Incredibly, two years later, she went to that region as a missionary herself, to share Jesus with the very people who had murdered her husband.
Today, in honor of her memory, we’re re-airing a recording of the late Elisabeth Elliot.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence the presentation we’re sharing today is the same one I heard her deliver live as a young woman. I can’t tell you how pivotal that evening was for me. I was just a few years into my own Christian journey, and I was hungry to see faith in action. Her talk that day was one of the earliest memories I have of what true conviction looked like.
Hearing her message again all these years later, I can tell you that the truth she shares is timeless. She talked about her commitment to the Lord and waiting on Him to carry out His will in our lives in the face of often difficult challenges.
And that’s something she knows a great deal about. After her first husband was murdered, she married theology professor Addison Leitch in 1969. He died three and a half years later.
She later said, “I have come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons. And if we’ll trust Him for it we can come to the unshakeable assurance that He’s in charge, that He has a loving purpose, and He can transform something terrible into something wonderful. Suffering is never for nothing.”
I hope you’ll join us for today’s program, “The Path of Endurance,” as we both mourn and celebrate Elisabeth Elliot.