The wonder of tenacious people is that their words continue to blaze trails in many hearts long after they have died.
I started writing this blog post two weeks before Elisabeth Elliot passed away. I had watched a documentary on the five men who were savagely killed by the Auca Indians.
The words that Elisabeth spoke are not printed in calligraphy and hanging on my wall. However, her words have forever speared my heart.
She reminisced about the day that her friend, Nate Saint, returned from his flight and announced, “I’ve found the Aucas,” and then revealed his plan for five men to go.
What she said next revealed the heart of a woman abandoned to God:
“Don’t you think it would make much better sense if a husband and wife with a baby would go down the river in a canoe? The Aucas certainly would not feel threatened by a man with his wife and baby. I’m willing to do it. Jim, are you willing to do it?” Her husband, Jim, said, “I think it’s a great idea.”
I rewound her words and listened again … and then again.
What mother would ever suggest it to be a good idea to take a child into a warring tribe known for spearing people to death?
Many of us would consider her words to be foolishness; especially since we know the five men were killed. I don’t believe that Elisabeth was careless with her daughter, but rather she was confident in her God.
I can hear the thoughts of many mothers who would say, “I could never do that.” I know! Me too. My thoughts straddle a place of parental-caution and a place of gospel-confidence. I wrestled with her words and then jotted down these thoughts.
How to be a mother and woman with tenacious faith:
(These are very personal, and quite honestly, a struggle to continually pray.)
- Let me be woman who fiercely loves God and allows the gospel to inform how I live my life.
- Let me be a woman who doesn’t dismiss myself from God’s mission because I have a family, but rather see my family as a vehicle to participate in God’s mission.
- Let me live on the altar of God, craving that He uncomfortably refine me. It is “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
- Let me be a mother that raises my children to be sheep, not that stay in the herd, but sheep that are sent out among wolves. And, let me do so, by first modeling it.
- Let me be a mom that raises my children in the security of the gospel and not in the safety of cultural-christianity.
- Let me ponder in my heart the precious gift of my children, but let me not hold them too tightly in my hand.
- Let me be abandoned to God and willing to risk it all for the name of Jesus Christ.
- Let me be a woman who does “not fear anything that is frightening.” (Elizabeth Elliot)
Even as I write these things, there is a hesitation in my heart mixed with words that begin with “What if this…” and “What if that … ”
We can have a love for God’s mission and at the same time a fear of joining God in that mission; especially when it concerns our children. When love for God’s mission surpasses fear of the unknown, we begin to exercise a tenacious faith; one blind step at a time. I believe the moment that Elisabeth was willing to go with her child to the Aucas, was preparation for participation in God’s mission.
A couple of years after her husband died, Elisabeth went with her daughter and lived in a village with the Aucas. Many came to faith in Jesus Christ and a gospel revolution took place within that tribe.
What would it require of you to live a tenacious faith?
Published September 28, 2015