on Jim waiting on God for Elisabeth

Ever since I heard of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot and read various books by Elisabeth and about Jim, I’ve been challenged by their faith in the Lord in all circumstances and how God directed them to eventually get married.  Recently I’ve been reading “Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot” by Elisabeth Elliot.  This book includes excerpts from Jim’s journals, and letters to various friends (including Elisabeth) and family, written while Jim was a young man in college, up until his eventual death by the Auca Indians in Ecuador.

The following excerpt comes at the point when Jim wanted to pursue a relationship with Elisabeth but sensed God saying to wait.  Elisabeth had been visiting Jim and his family in Oregon and they very much enjoyed each other’s company again after having not seen each other for quite a long time.  They knew their days together on this trip were dwindling down and Jim wrote, “Strange, but oh such happy days… Were those not of Thee, my God?  And wilt Thou deny fruition to such love as we have known?  As Thou wilt.  But how impossible it seems – to wait – yet, with God nothing shall be impossible.”

After Jim saw Elisabeth off at the bus station, Jim wrote,

“She has been gone one hour.  What thunders of feeling I have known in that short time.  I could not read the neon lights as I turned away from the bus, and couldn’t face the people as they passed me.  Leaving her is terrible.  Teasdale’s poem comes back:
       
        ‘I asked the heaven of stars
        What I could give my love –
        It answered me with silence,
        Silence from above.
       
        ‘I asked the darkened sea
        Down where the fishes go –
        It answered me with silence,
        Silence below.

        ‘Oh, I could give her weeping,
        Or I could giver her a song.
        But how can I give silence
        My whole life long?’

“Each time I see her, I have no answer.  Only that I must wait.  How long? For what?  I know not.  O God of my bitter moments, Father of Christ who wept, grant me guidance directly from Thee.  May I ask it in Spirit-spawned faith?  Please let us not part again in silence.  How bitter is love unexpressed!

“These words came as I wept between sunset and moonrise on the side hill beneath the firs:

        ‘Wheels carried her into silence,
        Out of my reach.
        I feared, lest darkness closing round us
        Might gain our souls,
        And we lose sight
        Of real things.
        But nay, the Sun that ruled our days
        Has lit the moon to rule our night.'”

– Jim Elliot (in “Shadow of the Almighty” p. 106-107)

I know that God doesn’t lead everyone to have the same life experiences, or to fall in love or get married in the same way, following the exact same pattern, and so I’m interested to hear some of your stories – if you’d be so willing to share them…

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