I have always been moved by the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot.

Sent by Mission Aviation Fellowship in the 1950s, they were American Christian missionaries to a remote nomadic people group, known as the Auca tribe, or the Huaorani tribe, who lived in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador.

Sadly, the tribe were notoriously suspicious of outsiders, and they murdered Jim and four other American missionaries in the jungle. But after her husband’s death, Elisabeth chose to continue living among the tribe that killed her husband, with her three-year-old daughter, Valerie.

Together, the Elliots have had huge influence on Christian missions, especially in reaching unreached people groups with the Gospel. (You can find out more about Jim here and Elisabeth here.)

Over 70 years on, and their journal jottings have become well known quotes, which still resonate today: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose,” for example, from Jim, and “One does not surrender a life in an instant; that which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime,” from Elisabeth.

The Elliots’ determination to witness to Jesus, in the midst of suffering and hardship, is a true lightthroughthecracks story. Even more so, because it involved counting the ultimate cost.

So I was pleased to recently discover this short film from Valerie, Jim and Elisabeth’s daughter, in which she speaks about her father’s death, and how she learned to forgive his killers: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/magazine-39039876

“I really believe that God allowed this to happen,” she says, “so that more and more people could actually see what real commitment to Christ means, and I really don’t believe their lives were wasted.”


It is unlikely that you will have ever lost a loved one in quite such a brutal and unexpected way. But all of us will be aware of people who have hurt us or our loved ones, causing suffering and hardship.

The challenge is this: Will you surrender that hurt to God? Are you prepared to forgive the people who have caused the hurt? And if you’re not quite there yet, is it something you’re prepared to learn to do over the course of time?

As ever, if you have any thoughts or reflections, do share them in the comments.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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