Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot

I recently started reading Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot. Mrs. Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot, the missionary who was killed by the Auca (Waodani) Indians in 1956. This book is the story of her relationship with Jim. Filled with snippets from her personal journals, as well as Bible verses, hymn lyrics, etc., it is the story of a young couple who greatly loved each other yet chose to wait. Not only did they maintain their purity, but they also made the difficult decision to hold off on marriage until they were certain of God's will for their lives. Neither one was certain that God wanted them to marry...ever. They both knew that going with their emotions and marrying outside of God's will would jeopardize their commitment to Christ and His glory. Though it was extremely difficult to rely on His perfect plan, which they realized could include singleness, they trusted God to make His will clear in His perfect timing. Below is an especially challenging portion of their story. It takes place right after they confessed their feelings for each other and committed, for the time being, to not become engaged.
E. Elliot says:

I began to learn to wait. Patient waiting does not come naturally to most of us, but a great deal is said about it in the Bible. It is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust....

[Journal entry from] June 9, 1948--....To wait on the Lord is to stand perfectly still....can [Jim and I] trust His words, "Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side?..." (1 Chronicles 22:18)

....It was on the evening of the same day, June 9, that Jim and I walked out to a cemetery and sat down on a stone slab. I told him I did not think it would help us much in discerning God's direction if we started right in on a heavy correspondence. Wouldn't it make more sense to "cool it"? Not that we used that expression in those days, but it says what I meant. To allow for the perspective that both distance and silence could give might help us to see the whole thing with cool reason.
Jim thought that over for a few minutes. Then he spoke of the story he had read in his Bible study that morning--the story of Abraham's offering up of the most precious thing in his life: his son Isaac. "So I put you on the altar," he said.
Slowly we became aware that the moon, which had risen behind us, was casting the shadow of a stone cross on the slab between us.
We were silent for a very long time, pondering this undeniable sign. What Abraham did was the ancient prelude to the full revelation of the love of God. The readiness to give up his son and the rewards promised because of it--again, the central truth of the Cross was brought to us in a strange and mysterious manner. When the silence became heavy, Jim said, "And what is to be done with the ashes?" Time would show.

What a challenging story! Two people who were willing to give up what their flesh longed for the most in order to follow God's design and purpose for their lives! They were willing to keep Christ and the truth of the Cross at the center of their hearts.
Lord, I pray that You would plant within me a desire to follow You alone, and that I would be willing to give up what I want so that You might be glorified and honored through my life. Amen.


Julia said...

Wow. How hard that would be, agreeing not to marry someone who you loved and you knew loved you! That's painful!
I don't know how you manage it, Brianna, but you always post something that challenges and stirs me! Way to go.

Now, I have news...check out my blog! :) (It looks different)

SSA said...

Dear Brianna
I'm sorry I haven't been lately. I have been busy, but that is no excuse. I'm agree that it is definitely hard giving up what your flesh want for what God wants, but that's when we have to make the decision... is it for me or for his glory? ;)

Your SSA

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Brianna!
What a beautiful encouragement for us who desire to wait and trust in the Lord. I needed to hear this today. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Dear Brianna.
Thanks, I really needed to hear that. I stumbled on your blog by 'accident' Ha! as acidental as anything ever is with God.

Ruth Hamilton

Anonymous said...

Ok, its Ruth again.
after a more indepth serch of your blog I see you are home schooled. Some how that does not surprise me!
I was as well. He-he while I have never see Lord of the rings, but I bet its good because its shot in New Ze3aland and I am afraid that being a New Zealander,I am rather fond of that country.This is the best, most encouraging blog I have ever found. Thanks so much

Danielle said...

What happened to them? Did God give them the okay to get married?