Heroes of the Faith

Unknown

Precious Seed

On January 11th 1956, five days after her husband had been killed, a widow wrote home to her parents,‘I want you to know that your prayers are being answered moment by moment as regards me – I am ever so conscious of the everlasting arms.As yet we know only that two bodies have been sighted from the air but not yet identified. Jim was confident, as was I, of God’s leading. There are no regrets. Nothing was more burning in his heart than that Christ should be named among the Aucas. By life or death, oh may God get glory to Himself’. This letter showed how a young woman was experiencing what she had written in a poem many years before.

Perhaps some future day, Lord
Thy strong hand
Will lead me to the place
where I must stand
Utterly alone.

This seeming tragedy was the outcome of an attempt made by Jim Elliott, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian,Pete Fleming and Nate Saint to win the confidence and friendship of the Auca Indians in Ecuador. The Auca’s were a stone-age tribe who had had no friendly contact with the world outside their jungle. The five young men, with their wives, had longed for the day when they could tell the tribe of the love of God shown in the death of Christ upon the cross. The story of how the five young men were murdered by the Auca Indians on their first visit to them caught the imagination of the world and was headline news everywhere. No doubt many wondered whether they had been right to trust the small party of Indians with whom they had made initial contact. Many also wondered why God had allowed His servants to be butchered in this way.

Their story has been written from the Christian perspective by Elisabeth Elliott. Her first two books, initially, were Shadow of the Almighty and Through Gates of Splendour. Shadow of the Almighty tells the story of her husband, Jim, who died aged 29, and contains extracts from his letters and journals. Through Gates of Splendour tells in dramatic detail the experience of all five young men, and then goes on to tell of how their widows handled the tragedy with great dignity and courage. Both of these books are recommended reading to all young believers, and should probably be required reading for all who are serious about discipleship. Would you be prepared to give up everything for Christ? Would you be able to break bread with your husband’s killers? A recent website asked the question,‘Was Elisabeth Elliott right to forgive the Aucas?’ She did, and she and her daughter went back to Jim’s murderers, lived with them, learned their language and preached to them, eventually standing by while some of them were baptized.This part of the story is told in the book The Savage My Kinsman.

All this is dramatic stuff beyond the experience of the average believer. Yet Jim Elliott struggled, as we all do, with the problems of the everyday, ordinary issues of the Christian life. Holiness, guidance, courtship, discipline; we all face these issues. Elisabeth Elliott again, and with sometimes brutal honesty, brought Jim’s thoughts and struggles in these matters to the fore when she edited The Journals of Jim Elliott.

Every age, every person, has their heroes. For many it is a sportsman or woman, a politician, a military genius, a popstar. Is it right for Christians to have heroes? Whether you think we should or not, Jim Elliott, Pete Fleming and the others should, at any rate, be examples to us all, remembering the truth of what Jim once famously wrote, ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose’. His early, and seemingly tragic death, has probably resulted in a far greater influence than his long life would have. Just type in ‘Auca Indians’ or ‘Jim Elliott’ into the Google search engine, and you will be amazed to see how many Christians, the world over, have been challenged and changed through reading about him and his fellow martyrs.

Towards the end of that awful week of waiting, the bodies of the five young men had been found and buried under a tree-house in a violent tropical storm. Late on that same evening, the five widows, their young children and a number of older missionaries gathered together in a small living room in Ecuador to read and pray. Some of the older men read various passages about heaven. ‘Military officers (involved in the search for the young men) and others in the house sat listening. The women were thankful that their men had been faithful to the Lord. Marilou went to the piano and began to play the last hymn the men had sung the morning they left for Palm Beach. Then Betty’s clear soprano took up the words,

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our
Defender,
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy
keeping tender,
We rest on Thee and in Thy name we go.

We go in faith, our own great weakness
feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace
to know;
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph
pealing,
We rest on Thee and in Thy name we go.

As Betty and Marilou finished, one military man shook his head and muttered with a choke in his voice, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this!’ (from Jungle Pilot, by R. Hitt).

Do you want a challenge? Then pick up one of these books, and try to be the same again after you have read it. I doubt if you will.

There are 26 articles in
ISSUE (2004, Volume 59 Issue 4)

Biblical Forgiveness

Celebrating 100 years of service for The Western Counties and South Wales Evangelisation Trust

Choice Gleanings

Editorial

An Experience in Open Air Gospel Testimony

Heroes of the Faith

The Fruit of the Spirit is

The God of all Comfort - Reflections on Isaiah

The God of all Grace

Who made God?

Gospel Work and other Activities

Has life always been good to you or do you live in quiet desperation?

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. Psalm 23. 2

He Opened to us the Scripture

Hezekiah’s Confession

Is it right for a Christian to drink alcohol?

A Life of Faith and Works

A History of the Assembly atManor Road Hall, Guildford, England

Peter’s ‘Precious Points’

The Poetry

Power and Freedom by the Spirit

Red Sky at Night

Reverence in the Local Assembly - An Important and Increasing Need

Studies in 2 Thessalonians

Windows on Worship

Wise words from the book of Proverbs

This article is not part of a series

There are 67 articles by this author

Springburn Gospel Hall, Glasgow

Christian Workers’ Relief Fund

Brass Tacks

Neston Gospel Hall, Wiltshire, England

Low Waters Gospel Hall, Hamilton, Scotland

Sharing Christ with Muslims - A basic Guide

The Moral Maze

Heroes of the Faith

Timeless truths about the local assembly

Timeless truths about the local assembly

Rebel without a Cause

Ten things God won’t ask on that day

Is what you do for the Lord, a job, or a ministry?

A brief history of Jalan Imbi Chapel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Valley of the Shadow

F. Cundick

Symposium of Bible Doctrine

E. W. Rogers

Harold P. Hobbs

‘Day by Day through the New Testament’ and other books available

How would we react to this Today?

‘Father God’

The First Day of the Week

Appendix to the Sweet Saviour Offerings,

Information

Henry Miles Linton

Leonard Cave

The 1989 Christian Year Diaries

Caring for those who find themselves left to cope on their own

I have learned to be content

Christian Websites

Perfect

Behold the Lamb

Joshua 14. 10.

Pastoral Insights (2)

No Replay Received!

Request Clear Answers (Leaflet)

False Teachers Active

Family Life Decaying

Harry Lacey

A truthful tongue avoids half-truths

Views from the News

Views from the News

Who Cares?

BURMAH ROAD GOSPEL HALL, PENANG, MALAYSIA

Believers under threat

Bryn Mawr Assembly, Philadelphia, USA

Views from the News

Managing your anger?

Winning souls with tracts

Nelson’s Ultimate Bible Reference Library

On-line Bible, Version 2.10

He is coming

‘But there is forgiveness with Thee’

Mal. 4. 6.

Blairhall Assembly, Scotland

Remember the Children and the Adults at Christmas

Bible Bytes

Egypt And Babylon

Training for Missionary Work

Are Things Ready To Die? - And If So What Then?

“A Rigid System Of Priorities”

Christ And You (Colossians)

Argument

A Guide To Personal Work

Some Salutary Questions

Let Every Man Take Heed - 1 Corinthians 3. 5-17