I was saddened to hear this morning of the passing of Elisabeth Elliot. She was a faithful missionary, author, speaker, and servant of God. Her life, ministry, and writings were instruments of grace in my life. She has been a inspiration and model of faithfulness to Christ.
As a child I read and re-read her account of the death of her husband and his missionary companions in the Ecuadorian jungles, Through Gates of Splendor. Later I would read her own account of her mission work among the very people that killed her husband, The Savage My Kinsman as well as her Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot and The Journals of Jim Elliot which she edited. Each of these writings had profound impact in my own life and service for Christ.
Her life of ministry continued through her many writings as well as her radio broadcast, “Gateway to Joy.” I always loved hearing her open the broadcast, “You are loved with an everlasting love,and underneath are the everlasting arms.” She communicated a rare blend of strength and humility in both her speaking and writing.
In recent years she had struggled with dementia. Her response to this was in keeping with her testimony through the great trials of her life, “ “She accepted those things, [knowing] they were no surprise to God,” Gren (her husband) said. “It was something she would rather not have experienced, but she received it.”
“I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”
– Elisabeth Elliot
The last hymn Jim Elliot and his friends sang before entering the jungle to share the Gospel was “We Rest on Thee.” The fourth stanza provided the title for the account Mrs. Elliot wrote:
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender.
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
Power to the strong and death to the weak
Today, Elisabeth Elliot has passed through those “gates of pearly splendor.”
“Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.”