The Christian community mourns the death of Elisabeth Elliott, widow of legendary missionary Jim Elliott and bestselling author of Through the Gates of Splendor, considered one of the most important evangelical books in history.
Born in 1926 to missionary parents, Elliott was a missions pioneer with her husband Jim in Ecuador among the Auca tribe, an indigenous group that took her husband’s life (and the lives of four other missionaries) soon after they arrived in the area. Amazingly, Elliott continued to work in Ecuador with her infant daughter and even lived with the Aucas for two years after her husband’s death. After returning to the States in the early sixties, she began speaking, radio broadcasting and wrote more than a dozen books on the subject of “living sacramentally” until dementia prevented her from continuing.
Christianity Today remembered Elliott with a quote from one of their first issues: “We have proved beyond any doubt that He means what He says—His grace is sufficient, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. We pray that if any, anywhere, are fearing that the cost of discipleship is too great, that they may be given to glimpse that treasure in heaven promised to all who forsake.”
Some of her more influential quotations:
“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
“Stand true to your calling to be a man. Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men.”
“There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for.”
“Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling—feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lions’ den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things work. It is an act of will, a choice, based on the unbreakable Word of God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.”
“Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.”
Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, praised Elliot in a 2013 Facebook post: “I owe my deepest, most transformative lessons on trusting God to her steadfast, passionate pursuit of a God who often offers no explanations or answers—at least not the kind that easily satisfy my very human questions.”