Heroes are characteristically known for their extraordinary ability to rescue people in desperate need. At least that’s how I picture heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America. Fantasy Superheroes never die while sadly, real heroes do.
Today, one of my heroes, Elisabeth Elliot, died. I never personally met this author and missionary statesman, although one time I did see her from a distance when she spoke at a conference. I felt like I knew her.
As a 10-year-old, I practically memorized The Savage My Kinsman, the story of her encounter with and love for the Auca Indians of Ecuador. Every picture and story in that book emblazoned into my memory and gave me my first understanding of what it means to sacrifice one’s self to ministry. Understandably, I wasn’t at all convinced that was a path I could follow.
Later, as a young adult, Elisabeth Elliot’s pen would write words that both rescued me and changed my thinking about God’s leading. In the mid-70’s I had many choices and decisions to make that would impact the rest of my life. I struggled with “finding God’s will,” and was almost paralyzed by a fear that I would make the wrong choice. In her book, A Slow and Certain Light (1976), Elisabeth Elliot reminded me that following God is taking only one step at a time. God’s word (Psalm 119:105) is the light for each and every single step. She added insight that renewed my faith – one needs to look back. Look to the past and see that God has always led and has never forsaken. He is God, who never fails and is totally trustworthy. His light is slow sometimes, but it is always certain.
Elisabeth shared these thoughts in an interview with Donna Morley (Faith and Reason Forum):
My book A Slow and Certain Light speaks of everything I know about how God guides us. Basically, you start with Romans 12:1. You present your body to the Lord and tell Him you’ll do anything He says. There’s no use praying for guidance if you haven’t already told the Lord you would do what He tells you.
As a young adult, the truth of those words rescued me from desperation. Now in the second-half of life when making big life-changing decisions, they continue to inspire and guide. Most recently, when taking leaps of faith to expand the ministry of Re-Ignite, I was reassured that God will lead and provide – just as he has always done!
I am grateful for the life and words of Elisabeth Elliot. She was a Superhero to me.
Rest in peace, dear one. Enter through the “gates of splendor” where you will receive your rewards for living a heroic, ever-rescuing, life.
written by Leona Bergstrom