Elisabeth Elliot

There’s No Coming to Life without Pain: An Interview with Elisabeth Elliot

In her words, both written and spoken, Elisabeth Elliot exudes this same quiet confidence. Hers is a Lord whom she has learned is nothing less than trustworthy. Ask her to sum up what God has taught her and she says simply, “Trust me.”

Elisabeth Elliot is the author of several best-sellers, including Passion and Purity and Shadow of the Almighty, which recount her experiences when she and her husband Jim Elliot served as missionaries to the Quichua Indians of Ecuador.

John Piper described her as someone who had “immortalized that moment in mission history with three books — Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty, and The Savage My Kinsman — and established her voice for the cause of Christian missions and Christian womanhood and Christian purity in more than twenty other books and forty years of hard-hitting conference speaking. Just like Jesus, and Jim Elliot, she called young people to come and die. Sacrifice and suffering were woven through her writing and speaking like a scarlet thread. She was not a romantic about missions. She disliked very much the sentimentalizing of discipleship.” You could read more about it here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/peaches-in-paradise

The interview:

Why do some Christians suffer more than others? Is it because they have a stronger will that must be broken?

EE: I don’t think that we could possibly jump to that conclusion. In the first place it is a mystery how God apportions suffering. Most of us would agree that the most holy people we know seem to be required to go through more and more deep waters.

From a psychological standpoint I would think that people who are highly sensitive and have more vivid imaginations suffer more than others. I remember lying awake at night imagining the things that would happen to my second husband after we learned of his cancer. These thoughts were in themselves a point of suffering. I think that’s what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Take no thought for tomorrow.” He was not saying it’s wrong to plan. He was saying, “Do not assume the burdens of tomorrow.” But that is a continual temptation for some of us whose imaginations work overtime.

You have said that, “The deepest things I have learned in my life have come through suffering.” Whatare some of those deep things?

EE: The profound and simple truth that God is God. When my husband Jim died, the Spirit of God brought to my mind the words: “I am the Lord!” Things which sound like platitudes become vital, living and powerful when you have to learn them in the bottom of the barrel, in dark tunnels. The lesson: “I am the Lord” ought to be one that we learn without going through deep waters, but apparently there isn’t any other way.

Read more about the interview here: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/theres-no-coming-life-without-pain-interview-elisabeth-elliot/

Beyond The Gates Of Splendor Film