Faith Despite Tragedy
In her book Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot told of her husband Jim's attempt to take the gospel to an unreached tribe of the feared Auca Indians. He and four other missionaries entered the tribe eager to make friendly contact.
Two days later on Sunday afternoon of January 8th, 1956, their five wives waited for the four-thirty scheduled radio contact with the five men. The time came and went with nothing but silence. As darkness settled down over the mountains of Ecuador, the five wives were waiting, praying, hoping that the next day would bring contact with the men they loved.
By Wednesday, two bodies had been seen from the air but identification was impossible. That night Elisabeth Elliot wrote the following letter to her folks:
"I want you to know that your prayers are being answered moment by moment as regard me---I am ever so conscious of the everlasting arms. As yet we know that two bodies have been sighted from the air but not 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 by death, oh, may God get glory to Himself...I have no idea what I will do if Jim is dead, but the Lord knows and I am at rest. We hope for the final word tomorrow and trust our living Father who never wastes anything. All my love."
The next day, as the painful news was given to the wives that all the men were dead, Elizabeth lead the wives in singing:
"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."
On October 6, 1958 Elisabeth Elliot along with her small daughter, Valerie, and another of the bereaved wives, Rachel Saint, headed into the jungles to live and work among those same Auca Indians who had killed their husbands.
Thank You, Jesus, for this living demonstration of faith.
"Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12).