Elisabeth Elliot lived a testimony that proved the sustaining power of God.
Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was horrifically murdered by tribal peoples while on a missionary venture to Ecuador. After only 3 years of marriage and a 10-month-old daughter, she lost her first and true love.
But her faith was unshakable, because she knew the Love of our Great God.
By the end of her life, this woman of God had written over 20 books, served as a missionary in three different continents of the world, and spoke the hope of Jesus into millions of souls.
Here are 12 powerful quotes from this extraordinary woman to inspire your walk with God.
“God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.”
“Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling — feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lions’ den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things work. It is an act of will, a choice, based on the unbreakable Word of a God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.” (Secure in the Everlasting Arms)
“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.” (A Chance to Die)
“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way of being constructive.
Love is not possessive.
Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
Love is not touchy.
Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.” (Let Me Be a Woman)
“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
“I have one desire now — to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” (Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Life Under Christ’s Control)
“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
“God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful – ‘severe mercies’ at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”
“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.”
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
Elliot’s work has influenced people of all races, many ages, and both genders. Through her legacy, people are able to see what happens when a life reaches into the hand of God, and He in return wraps us in an embrace of ultimate purpose and peace through it all.
She firmly believed that “[w]e have ample evidence that the Lord is able to guide. The promises cover every imaginable situation. All we need to do is to take the hand he stretches out.”
Elliot grabbed that hand at a very young age and never let go. The evidence of God’s guidance over her life have taught millions how to deal with tragedy and the greatest or worst situations with Godly response.
Elisabeth (Howard) was born into a God-worshipping family. In fact, her missionary parents were still in Belgium when December 21, 1926 came and their first daughter entered the world.
A few months later, they moved to America to continue growing the incredible legacy of faith surrounding her. In Germantown (near Philadelphia), her father became the main editor for the Sunday School Times. This publication was used exclusively by hundreds of churches for the 67 years it was in publication as a way to unify Bible teaching materials.
Elisabeth remained with her family in Philadelphia and then New Jersey until leaving to study classical Greek at Wheaton College.
Ms. Elliot had four brothers and a sister by the time she left home, and was sent with the parental encouragement and grace of God to continue serving Him wherever she went.
In college, she formed a beautiful friendship with Jim Elliot and they quickly fell in love.
However, both felt called to mission work and loved the Lord first and foremost. Elizabeth left for Ecuador to begin “exploring the fields” where she felt called. One year later, Jim also came and both worked for a period of time with the Quechua Indians.
In 1953, they were married on the fields in Quito, Ecuador.
Their work was fruitful amongst the spiritual lives of the Quechuans. From the beginning, though, Jim felt called to work at some point with an unreached people group.
The Elliot’s found that the Auca fit that description and as soon as they learned of the whereabouts, Elisabeth describes in simple dignity: “Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death.”
The couple were married three years before this tragedy, their daughter was 10 months old at the time of Jim’s death, and she was pregnant with their second child.
After the death, Elisabeth went back to work with the Quechuans.
Then, a miracle happened, which Elisabeth called “a remarkable providence…two Auca women came to live with me for one year.” Ms. Elliot felt a strong move of God in her soul, and knew she needed to go back with these women as a servant of the Gospel of Christ to the Auca Indians.
She knew, of course, these would be the same people who had murdered her beloved and his brave fellows. She chose to believe the Lord has sustaining miraculous power above her own natural abilities and knew the life changing power of His Love personally.
So, she followed the call and worked with them for two years. She then returned to the Quechuans until 1973, and then felt it was time to bring Valerie to the U.S.
Of her life in America, she narrates “my life has been one of writing and speaking. It also included, in 1969, a marriage to Addison Leitch, professor of theology at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. He died in 1973. After his death I had two lodgers in my home. One of them married my daughter, the other one, Lars Gren, married me. Since then we have worked together.”
Over her lifetime, Elisabeth worked as a professor at theological seminaries, served as a style consultant on the NIV Bible translation team, and spent 13 years as a regular voice on Christian radio.
Every day listeners learned to come to this radio show expecting the beauty of the Lord to fill their spirits. This is best evidenced in her usual opening phrase: “‘You are loved with an everlasting love,’ – that’s what the Bible says – ‘and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ This is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot…”
Re-runs are available at the Bible Broadcasting Network and can be streamed on demand on their website.
In the last 10 years of her life, she battled with increasing dementia. This was a tragedy to herself and those who knew her. She died at 88, on June 15, 2015.
I pray these quotes and her story serves as an inspiration to you. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.