Shadow of the Almighty

select quotes from Shadow of the Almighty, by Elisabeth Elliot Obedience leads to knowledge.  Obedience is the expression of love for God.  Obedience means that we live in God.  And if we live in Him, our lives bear the stamp of Christ. 9

He and the other men with whom he died were hailed as heroes, “martyrs.”  I do not approve. Nor would they have approved.  Is the distinction between living for Christ and dying for Him, after all so great?  Is not the second the logical conclusion of the first? 9

Lord make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing God. 11

He is no fool who gives what he cannot to keep to gain what he cannot lose. 15

We Rest On Thee Our Shield Hymn

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender! We go not forth alone against the foe; Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender, We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation! In Thy dear Name, all other names above; Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation, Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

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.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender! Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise; When passing through the gates of pearly splendor, Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.


...he recognized that life was worth living only if given over completely to God.  24

And as for any foolishness about “forcing religion down their throats,” the parents had not the slightest worry.  They wanted the best for their children...and gave it to them — spiritual as well as physical care, and all the other good things they could offer.  If the child failed to appreciate the need for spiritual guidance, he probably failed, too, to see the need of physical rest when bedtime came around, but the parents guided him just the same, to God, as well as to bed. 25

Fred Eliot read the Scriptures daily to his children, seeking to show them the glory of Christ above all else, striving always to avoid legalism or a list of “don’ts”.  25

The parents made an issue of nothing unless they intended to carry it through, believing that empty threats were dishonest and ruinous to a child’s sense of justice. 26

We got interested later on in the slavery question in Africa...While I thought the use of force to break slavery chains was the answer, Jim was more interested in the missionary approach.  However, I was quick to point out the dangers of cannibal soup (an old-fashioned recipe consisted of one part missionary to a hundred parts of water); Jim’s rebuttal to this was is faith in the Lord, who, he said, had delivered many more men in their time than guns had ever done. 31

while knowledge may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature.  For whatever a man may know, he still has a lot to learn, but if he loves God, he is opening his whole life to the Spirit of God 37

The acquisition of academic knowledge (‘the pride of life’) is a wearing process and I wonder now if it is all worth while.  The shiny pint laid on by curiosity's hand has worn off.  What thing better can a man know than the love of Christ, which passes knowledge?  Oh to be reveling in the knowledge of Him, rather than wallowing the quagmire of inscrutable philosophy! My philosophy prof says I can’t expect to learn much in his class — all he wants to do is to develop an inquiring mind in order to ‘make explicit and critically examine philosophical problems of the widest generality.’  Ho hum. 40

A football game.  Seems strange to be in crowds, and even stranger to find myself worked up by so small a thing as a ball game.  The shouting seems a useless process — far better to be shouting God’s praises.  I feel that being alone is far more conducive to fellowship with my Father who grows daily more precious as I slowly learn His ways.  Looking on His face with the eye of faith, we are changed into the same image, from glory to what?  Asceticism?  Bless God, more glory!  Show a little faith to Him, and He gives more faith. 40-41

My heart has devised to serve Him. I must leave the next step to Him. 41

No, education is dangerous, and, personally, I am beginning to question its value in a Christian’s life.  I do not disparage wisdom — that comes from God, not from Ph.D’s. 41

...while I would so much more enjoy study on the things of God.  Be that as it may, my Father knows best, and I’m confident that He has placed me here; my task is to labor quietly until the pillar-cloud removes and leads farther, working out God’s purposes in God’s time.   43

I lack the fervency, vitality life in prayer which I long for.  I know that many consider it fanaticism when they hear anything which does not conform to the conventional, sleep-inducing eulogies so often rising form Laodicean lips; but I know too that these same people can acquiescently tolerate sin in their lives and in the church without so much as tilting one hair of their eyebrows.  Cold prayer, like cold suitors, are seldom effective in their aims. 44

What a brutish master sin is, taking the joy from one’s life, stealing money and health, giving promise of tomorrow’s pleasures and finally leading one onto the rotten planking that overlies the mouth of the pit.  It is with honest praise to God I can look up tonight and rejoice in His loving-kindness in delivering me from a life of useless frustration and the ultimate agonies of the gnawing, undying worms of remorse and regret. 44

Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked.  Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody. 46

Whether God were actually giving him what he called the “gift of single life” (an expression that Jim took from 1 Corinthians 7:7): “each has his own special gift from God” — he did not yet know; neither did he try to rationalize himself out of that possibility.  He believed Christ to be utterly sufficient for the entire fulfillment of the personality, and was ready to trust Him literally for this. 48

Lord if Thou wilt but allow me to take this set-apart place, by Thy grace, I shall covet no inheritance.  NOTHING BUT CHRIST.” 49

No one warns young people to follow Adam’s example.  He waited till God saw his need.  Then God made Adam sleep, prepared for his mate, and brought her to him.  We need more of this ‘being asleep’ in the will of God.  Then we can receive what He brings us in His own time, if at all.  INstead we are set as bloodhounds after a partner, considering everyone we see until our minds are so concerned with the sex problem that we can talk of nothing else when bull-session time comes around.  It is true that fellow cannot ignore women — but he can think of them as he ought — as sisters, not as sparring partners! 50

Our young men are going into the professional fields because they don’t ‘feel called’ to the mission field.  We don't need a call; we need a kick in the pants. 54

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee.  Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine.  I seek not a long life but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus. 55

Father, let me be weak that I might loose my clutch on everything temporal.  My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me loose the tension of the grasping hand.  Even, Father, would I lose the love of fondling.  How often I have released a grasp only to retain what I prized by ‘harmless’ longing, the fondling touch.  Rather, open my hand to receive the nail of Calvary, as Christ’s was opened — that I, releasing all, might be released, unleashed from all that binds me now.  He thought Heaven, yea, equality with God, not a thing to be clutched at.  So let me release my grasp.  59

What a glory to be weary in the work of the Kingdom! 60

Of the flesh and its false emotions I have quite had my fill.  Of Jesus I cannot seem to get enough.  Thank God, though, he does not thwart the soul’s desire for Himself, but only whets the desire, intensifying, sublimating. 60

Soon shall the cup of glory wash down earth’s bitterest woes. 60

Bringing every thought into the obedience of Christ is no easy-chair job. 60

Oh what a privilege to be made a minster of the things of a ‘happy God.’  I only hope that He will let my preach to those who have never heard that name Jesus. What else is worth while in this life?  I have heard of nothing better. ‘Lord, send me!’ 60

Oh to think that these men and women, these happy boys and girls going there [to Hell].  Father, save them, I pray; grace only makes me differ. 61

Oh that Christ were All and Enough for me.  He is supposed to be, ... but oh, to be swept away in a flood of consuming passion for Jesus, that all desire might be sublimated to Him. 61

However, the Lord is teaching me to say with the psalmist, ‘I delight to do Thy will,’ instead of the usual, ‘Well I suppose it’s the Lord’s will so we’ll just have to put up with it.’  Oh the delirium of consciously being in the will of the Master: what joy, brother!  And this brings knowledge of His presence and this affords rest.  ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 63

I pray that the sweetness of the Spirit will purge out the pride I sense arising as I write these comments.  Oh for grace in the inward parts, holiness unto the Lord. 63

He is enough, satiating every cell.  May we learn to give Him the deserved place, and allow Him to preside... 65

I know inside that the flesh would like more training — and perhaps I’m fitted to train more — everyone seems to be planning on it around here.  But those generations passing away at this moment!  They must hear of the Savior!  How can we wait?  O Lord of Harvest, do send forth laborers!  Here am I, Lord.  Behold me, send me.  How deaf must be the deafness of the ear which has never heard the story; how blind the eye that has not looked on Christ for light; how pressed the soul that has no hope of glory; how hideous the fate of man who knoweth only night!  God arouse us to care, to feel as He HImself does for their welfare. 70

‘Every hour I need Thee.’ My love is faint, my warmth practically nil.  Thoughts of His coming flicker and make me tremble.  Oh, that I were not so empty-handed.  Joy and peace can only come in believing, and that is all I can say to Him tonight.  Lord, I believe.  I don’t love, I don’t feel, I don’t understand, I can only believe.  Bring Thou faith to fruition, Great Harvest Lord.  Produce in me, I pray.  This is came today while meditating:

What is this, Lord Jesus, that Thou shouldst make an end

Of all that I possess, and give Thyself to me?

So that there is nothing now to call my own

Save Thee; Thyself alone my Treasure.

Taking all, Thou givest full measure of Thyself

With all things else eternal—

Things unlike the mouldy pelf by earth possessed.

But as to Life and Godliness, all things are mine

And in God’s garments dressed I am;

With Thee, an heir to riches in the spheres divine.

Strange, I say, that suffering loss,

I have so gained everything in getting

Me a friend who bore a Cross. 70-71

have been vividly aware of seeking the praise of men today.  Tonight the Lord Himself speaks from Matthew 6.  Lord, make me forget myself.  I would not be of those who already have their reward in receiving recognition from men.  My God, Thou who dost see [Greek letters] [in secret]!  What dost Thou see in me?  Purge!  Tear off the shell and smash it to bits.  Honestly, Father, I do not now want to be seen.  Hide me in the brighter light of the Son within.  And teach me to pray in simplicity as the Lord Jesus illustrated, concerned with seven things:

God’s name

God’s kingdom

God’s will

my bread

my debts

my debtors

deliverance from evil

Singleness, simplicity, is required of me.  One treasure, a single eye, and a sole Master 71

The confidence of Philippians 1:6 assuages all doubt for me  He cannot fail us.  Oh, He may lead us oceans apart (and can we not trust HIm for that, too?) but are we so childish (I do not say childlike) as to think that a God who could scheme a Jesus-plan would lead poor pilgrims into situations they could not bear?  Dost thou believe that God doth answer prayer, my heart?  Yea, I believe.  Then will He not most assuredly answer that frequent cry of thine, ‘Lead me, Lord?’ I am as confident of God’s leading as I am of His salvation.  May He not so often have to address us [Greek letters] [‘little-faiths’] 73

There are too many good preachers berating people night after night about a lost world who have never faced the challenge of sacrificial foreign service themselves.  I feel as if I haven’t got any excuse whatsoever to let a body such as you have given me get fat leaning on pulpits.  There’s work to be done, and skilled laborers are needed to complete the building of God.  May I grant that I be one of them.  What greater privilege than to be able to aid in presenting a glorious Church to such a worthy Redeemer? 75-76

Well, all my doubts and fears (hinges on which swing the gates of Hell) cannot prevail to take Him from His throne nor stop Him from the building of His church. 77

What I will be doing one year form today is a complete mystery.  Perhaps a sick bed or a coffin — glory!  Either of these would be fine, but the latter would be immortality, a swallowing up by Life.  For this I am most anxious. 77

God has blessed me with a queer twist that makes me laugh at almost anything, though sometimes it gets way out of hand.  This may not be valid, but what do you think of translating [Greek letters] as ‘happy’?  If this will pass the lexicographer I suggest it for I Timothy 1:11, ‘the gospel of the happy God.’  Whenever I get downcast, the Lord feeds me pills of praise. 78

Only one is increasingly conscious of the rate as he finds more to be done, and discovers the enormous obstacles, within and without, which oppose their accomplishment.  Life?  ‘It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time.’ And this musing spurs me on: ‘For yet a little while and He that shall will come and will not tarry.  Behold I come quickly and My reward is with Me.’ What a challenge!  What shall be my reward in that day?  How much will have to be consumed at the glance of His ‘flaming eye’?  How little remains to His everlasting praise?  Looking at my days — how short they are, how unproductive, how full of incidentals, how little real production for the Harvest-Master.  79

They have a nice home and belongings and two cute kiddies, but are so like the rest of us that it is against disheartening.  We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with.  But we are ‘harmless’, and therefore unharmed.  We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places.  Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross.  We are ‘sideliners‘ — coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged.  The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!  79

I sense fires burning within which may make of me a fanatic reactionary, but as another has prayed, ‘Lord, deliver us from our sad, sweet, stinking selves.’  Oh why stand we debating whether or not children under the ‘age of accountability’ (whatever that may mean) are going to heaven when we are dead sure that multitudes round about us are pouring hourly into hell? 80

The Lord is a hard taskmaster, telling me to rejoice and sing a praise-psalm when things oppress.  Naturally, I rebel and quote Proverbs 25:20, ‘As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather ... so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.’  ‘Sympathize,’ I cry, and He peels off my overcoat of self-pity by saying, ‘Praise, child, and be warmed within!’  Ever notice that?  Whenever I want comfort He tells me to ‘count it all joy,’ and then, queerly, I heed, and it all becomes sweet. 80

‘If our love were but more simple,

We should take Him at His word,

And our lives would be all sunshine

In the sweetness of our Lord.’ 80

What a ragged, shoddy thing Christianity has come to be, honoring men and means, places and crowds — O Lord, deliver me form the spirit of this faithless generation.  How I should long to see the simplicity and powerful beauty of the New Testament fellowship reproduced, but no one seems to be similarly exercised here, so I must wait.  O Christ, let me know Thee — let me catch glimpses of Thyself, seated and expectant in glory, let me rest there despite all wrong surging round me.  Lead me in the right path, I pray. 80

A couple of your late letters mention the thought that I am not happy.  I can’t understand what nuances my letters contain, but I fear you have misinterpreted.  It is true I feel as never before the pressure of studies and responsibility around here.  The uncertainty of the next year adds sobriety to my thinking, but for all these things, I would have no cause to call upon the Remover of Hindrances.  Banish your fears; my soul is glad in God, though I tend to aggrandize the difficulties and fail often to give glory to the Great Solver thereof. 84

‘And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.’ ‘In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.’ I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds.  If he can keep us hearing radios, gossip, conversation, or even sermons, he is happy.  But he will not allow quietness.  For he believes Isaiah where we do not.  Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.  The voice of God, though persistent, is soft. ...I am finding your counsel to get enough sleep most practical, Mother.  Not only to be fit for the day and able to relax, but for spiritual awareness and reception one must simply be rested if he is to be blessed.  Let us resist the devil in this by avoiding noise as much as we can, purposefully seeking to spend time alone, facing ourselves in the Word. ...Satan is aware of where we find our strength.  May he not rob us! 85

For I long (Thou knowest how earnestly) that the Bride of Thy dear Son be made perfect and entirely in my day.  Yea, Lord, if it cost me my bride in this life, let me have Thy grace and power to bring to the Lamb the reward of His sufferings.  ‘If Thy dear Home be fuller, Lord, for that emptier my house on earth, what rich reward that guerdon were!’  85

But the spirit of desperation to do God’s will has not gripped this group of 1450 as a whole— yet.  We lack the intensity of feeling deeply, that sense of inevitable must which Christ possessed, the zeal for God’s house that consumed Him.  87

How long shall we sit analyzing, questioning, arguing, discussing, before God lays hold on us with power to thrust us out to the billion and half who have not yet heard?  But one can pray — and I ask this of you all.  Lay hold with all your powers upon the Lord of the Harvest that He would make the effects of this convention resounding dark places for His Name’s sake. 87-88

‘Overcome anything in the confidence of your union with Him, so that contemplating trial, enduring persecution or loneliness, you may know the blessings of the ‘joy set before.’  ‘We are the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.’ And what are those sheep doing going into the gate?  What is their purpose inside those courts?  To bleat melodies and enjoy the company of the flock?  No.  Those sheep were destined for the altar.  Their pasture feeding has been for one purpose, to test them and fatten them for bloody sacrifice.  Give Him thanks, then, that you have been counted worthy of His altars.  Enter into the work with praise. 89

I blush to think of things I have said, as if I knew something about what Scripture teaches.  I know nothing.  My father's religion is of a sort which I have seen nowhere else.  His theology is wholly undeveloped, but so real and practical a thing that it shatters every ‘system’ of doctrine I have seen.  He cannot define theism, but he knows God.  90

One does not surrender a life in an instant.  That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.  Nor is surrender to the will of God (per se) adequate to fullness of power in Christ.  Maturity is the accomplishment of years, and I can only surrender to the will of God as I know what that will is.  Hence, the fullness of the Spirit is not instantaneous but progressive, as I attain fullness of the Word, which reveals the Will. 91

‘Too busy‘ — cursed words, those.  Father, forgive me for being so academic and material in my outlook, so much feeding of the mind and outer man, so little genuine concern for spiritual things. 92

We won second place at the tournament in Cleveland, but what is that?  Nothing abides.  Behold the Son of God comes!  One flash of His burning eye will melt all our polished marble and burnished gold to nothing.  One word from His righteous lips will speak destruction to the vast rebellion we call the human race.  One peal of His vengeful laughter will rock the libraries of our wise and bring them crashing to a rubble heap.  The wise shall be taken in their own craftiness; mountains shall be brought low.  What shall abide that Day?  Lo, ‘He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.’  Church of God, awake to your Bridgegroom!  Think not, America, to say in your heart, ‘We have upheld the common man; we have the Godly for our heritage; we have respect to the religions.’  I say to you, God is able to raise up righteousness from your pavement stones.  You have nothing but awful show before Him who comes ... oh the awful emptiness of a full life when Christ stands yet without.  93

Training is learning to follow, not to lead. But we must have ‘Christians who are leaders, you know.’ Jesus said, ‘He that is first shall be last.’ ‘It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.’  That is the sort of training that we need, to be as He is, sharing His rejection even by well-meaning Fundamentalists. 93

Remember — and I don’t want to sound pedantic or impudent as if I knew all the costs — remember that we have bargained with Him who bore a cross, and in His ministry to those disciples His emphasis was upon sacrifice, not of worldly goods so much as of family ties.  Let nothing turn us from the truth that God has determined that we become strong under fire, after the pattern of the Son.  Nothing else will do.  Our silken selves must know denial.

Pray that I might not become so involved that I fail to apply myself to the Scriptures and apply all the Scriptures to myself. 99

One of my renaissance experiences was to get among kids who were on a different spiritual level than my own, and enjoy fellowship with them.  I found a very subtle snare in so doing.  I sought their fellowship that I might minister to them, ‘be a help,’ you know, to these ‘weaker’ ones.  What a rebuke came when I sensed my real motive — that I might minister.  Love hacks right at this, for she refused to parade herself.  I learned to recognize no ‘spiritual planes,’ but simply to love, purely, in every group.  Trying to ‘be a help’ even has a smell of good works in it, for it is not pure.  Our motive is only to be nothing, know nothing, act nothing— just to be a sinful bit of flees, born of a Father’s love.

God, preserve me from living a life which conforms to the general pattern. 103

To whom shall I go for counsel for a way of life? To whom for example?  To Thee, Lord?  Yea, I come to Thee.  103

Painted part of the hall today.  Restless to do other things more directly related to the Lord’s work.  Longing for a companion who will be a David to me, and me his Jonathan.  Lack spiritual stamina to keep fresh in all this eating and doing.  Oh, there is time to read and seek God, but my desire slackens.  Lord, up hold Thy lily-saint.  Stay me, Jehovah, for Thin is a strong right arm, and mine so weak!  Saturday night again, and weary from work but seeking something from the Lord now.  How shall I build with these weak and slack hands, Lord? 105

How vile and base my thought have been lately.  Not just unkind or unsympathetic, but rotten, lewd thinking that cannot be overcome simply by willing to be rid of them.  How dare I minister to God’s saints in such a condition?  Lord, rebuke my flesh and deliver my heart from evil. 105-106

I sense tonight that my desires to be great are likely to frustrate God’s intents for good to be done through me.  O Lord, let my pray again with earnest, honest heart:  I will not be great — only, God, grant to me Thy goodness.106

Last night those great, sweeping desires for the glory of God seized on me, seasons when the thoughts pour ahead of the words in prayer and my attitude is as one heaving great gasps of want.  Desire there is aplenty.  Words are few at such times and faith, I must admit, is not really great. 108

One of the great blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth.  He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. 108

I see clearly now that anything, whatever it is, if it be not on the principle of grace, it is not of God.  Here shall be my plea in weakness; here shall be my boldness in prayer; here shall be my deliverance in temptation; at least, here shall be my translation.  Not of grace?  Then not of God. And here, O Lord Most HIgh, shall be your glory and the honor of your Son.  And the awakening for which I have asked — it shall come in your time, on this principle, by grace, through faith.  Perfect my faith, then, Lord, that I may learn to trust only in divine grace, that Thy work of holiness might soon begin in Portland.  110

Lord, give me firmness without hardness, steadfastness without dogmatism, love without weakness.  110

I think there is nothing so startling in all the graces of God as His quietness.  When men have raged untruths in His NAME, when they have used the assumed authority of the Son of God to put to death His real children, when they have with calloused art twisted the Scriptures into fables and lies, when they have explained the order of His creation in unfounded theories while boasting the support of rational science, when they have virtually talked Him right out of His universe, when they, using powers He grants them, claim universal autonomy and independence, He, this great Silent God, says nothing.  His tolerance and love for His creature is such that, having spoken in Christ, in conscience, in code of law, He waits for men to leave off their bawling and turn for a moment to listen to His still, small voice of Spirit.  Now, after so long a time of restrained voice, bearing in Almighty meekness the blasphemies of His self-destroying creatures, now — how shall break upon the ears, consciousnesses, hearts, and minds of reprobate men the Voice of One so long silent?  It shall thunder with the force of offended righteousness, strike with lightning bolts upon the seared consciences; roar as the long-crouched lion upon dallying prey; leap upon, batter, destroy and utterly consume the vain reasonings of proud mankind; ring as a battle shout of a strong, triumphant, victory-tasting warrior; strike terror and gravity to souls more forcefully than tortured screams in the dead of night.  O God, what shall be the first tones of that voice again on earth?  And what their effect?  Wonder and fear, denizens of dust, for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a battlecry, with the voice of the archangel an the trumpet blast of God Himself, made more terrible, if that could be, by the long suffering of His silence. 111

I must act in a holy manner, not for reward or appearance, but because of God’s nature.  The Law continually reminds me that commandments are to be kept, not for their own sake, but for God’s sake.  I will be righteous then, because God’s nature is such.  His character determines my conduct.  “This do ... for I am Jehovah.” 113

What is my relation, practically, to the end of the age?  Oh, it is gripping to think that our eyes are to be so blessed as to see Him, ‘so coming in like manner’ as He went away.  What means the enormity of faith in a returning Christ in such an hour?  How poorly will appear anything but a consuming operative faith int eh person of Christ when He comes.  How lost, alas, a life lived in any other light! 115

Be on guard, my soul, of complicating your environment so that you have neither time nor room for growth! 117

Christ needs some young fellows to sell out to Him and recklessly toss their lives into His work.  It seems to me like you ought to be one of them, Fisher 122

It is exalting, delicious.  To stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattails and the heavens hailing your heart — to give and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could a man ask?  Oh the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth.  I care not if I ever raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.  Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead through the vast star fields, to explore His delicacies, whose finger-ends set them to burning.  But if not, if only I may see HIm, touch His garments, and smile into my Lover’s eyes — ah, then, not stars, nor children shall matter — only Himself. 142

We feel God must be testing us, for He has certainly give us no evidence, beyond His provision of our needs, of any special sort that this move was His will.  But what can one do?  Doubt, after praying, waiting, and weighing as well as one can and still leaning on the Spirit to move?  No.  We cannot doubt, but search our hearts and pray more and believe more...It would be easy to slip into the business world and just be a good guy with a lot of religion, rather than a producing son of God in enemy territory.  144

We went visiting in the slums last Monday night.  Not easy, but comforting to be among those ‘blessed poor‘ — with Jesus in a sense we are not when among the self-sufficient.  We must go again soon.  It makes one scornful of vanity and not much in love with life, especially this life of banks, bills, rates, and percentages. 145

I can not condition myself to think of marriage now, in spite of all the bells and rings, not to mention the abundance of marriageable women in the horizon.  Things are too unsettled with me, and I do not feel it fair, either to the girl or to the work of the Lord, to tie myself up now with all that the relationship involves.  I admit, it is not easy to see the wedding bells break up the old gang, and sit by immobile, but, though a wife would be lawful (even desirable at times) for me it is not now expedient. 146

Looking over the last two years since graduation gives me a funny sense of uselessness.  The way for me has certainly not been convectional or predictable in any way.  But I have sought the will of God, and in this I rest.  It is no use arguing what might have been if so and so had happened.  We are only asked to do what we are told—small, strange, or simple as that may be—our orders are to obey, and in this my conscience is clear.  I have walked in integrity, not purposing according to the flesh, that my path should be yea, yea, and nay, nay.  But having purposed in Christ to do what is pleasing to Him, I find His approval (yea) and seal (amen) in the smallest and unlikely things. ...Who shall doubt, or say that our labor is in vain? ‘Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph.’


The command is plain: you go into the whole world and announce the good news.  It cannot be dispensationalized, typicalized, rationalized.  It stands a clear command, possible of realization because of the Commander’s following promise.  ...Rest in this — it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call, or whatever you want to call it.  It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you.  150

“And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,

Until it be according unto mine?

But no, Lord, no; that never shall be, rather

I pray Thee, blend my human will with Thine.” 151

  • Nathan Brown of Burma

And so I sense that I may share the Christ’s words, ‘I have set Jehovah always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ Not moved?  WIth all the awful pressure of inward desire to move me to lust?  Not moved.  WIth all demonic hatred to move me to fear and doubt?  Not moved.  Wherefor?  He is before me and at my right hand.  Therefore my heart is glad! 155

Therin I am made aware of two great forces for good in human experience: the fear of God and the grace of God.  Without the fear of God I would not stop at doing evil; the fear of God restrains.  Without the grace of God I would have no desire to approach positive goodness.  The one is a deterrent from evil; the other is an encouragement to good. ...The Scriptures were written to this very intent: to be a means of grace in struggling against sin.  Would that Christians read their Scriptures.  We should have a holier band for it. 156

Must we always comment on life?  Can it not simply be lived in the reality of Christ’s terms of contact with the Father, with joy and peace, fear and love full to the fingertips in their turn, without incessant drawing of lessons and making of rules?  I do not know.  Only I know that my own life is full.  It is time to die, for I have had all that a young man can have, at least all this young man can have.  If there were no further issue from my training, it would be well.  The training has been good, and to the glory of God.  I am ready to meet Jesus.  Failure means nothing now, only that it taught me life.  Success is meaningless, only that it gave me farther experience in using the great gift of God, Life.  And Life, I love thee.  Not because thou art long, or because thou hast done great things for me, but simply because I have thee from God. 157

For if, really, we have denied ourselves to and from each other for His sake, then should we not expect it see about us the profit of such denial?  ... Besides this, there is the somewhat philosophical realization that actually, I have lost nothing.  We may imagine what it would be like to share a given event and feel loss at having to experience it alone.  But let us not forget — that loss is imagined, not real.  I imagine peaks, enjoyment when I think of doing things together, but let not the hoping for it dull the doing of it alone.  ... Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living! 160

Strange that the other passengers get bored waiting around, and we hardly have enough time to get what we want done.  Thank God for purpose in life.  So many purpose come into existence when on works the will of God, that there is no excuse for laziness or wasted time. He is redeeming our lives, as well as our souls. 168

Seems far away and hard to believe.  One can’t imagine death as a look on the face or the stiff position of a body, when he hasn’t seen the person that way.  You always bring up that the living face in thinking about him.  Another instance of what death really is — not just a coldness or a silence or a horror, but a removal, a separation.  For those who are near it may be the former things, but for us who have not been closer than thousands of miles, it is always, ‘I can’t imagine so and so without her.’ We don’t think of her as she died, but in relation to what she left, and the idea of separation is constant with her death.  Sad thing it was, and tragic.  But it is very easy to mouth clear, flat platitudes about it and to draw old morals again for re-etching. 177

It is a warning to any of us who love.  We should love hard, and not casually; fervently, playfully, and simply, never heavily or slowly.  Slovenly loving makes for wearisome living.  I think A. just got weary.  If you ever love, Jane, love like a school girl with giggles and sighs, and keep love alive by consciously keeping wonder and surprise at the core of it.  For many ‘young-marrieds’ get used to it after a year or two, because they think they have to.  For me, I can’t afford it with Betty.  I’ve got to make it last and last.  I have not found it hard, but I have found that love is not effortless.  It needs control and direction. 177-8

How well I see now that He is wanting to do something in me!  So many missionaries, intent on doing something, forget that His main work is to make something of them, not just to do a work by their stiff and bugling fingers.  Teach me, Lord Jesus, to live simply and love purely, like a child, and to know that You are unchanged in Your attitudes and actions toward me.  GIve me not to be hungering for the ‘strange, rare, and peculiar’ when the common, ordinary, and regular — rightly taken — will suffice to feed and satisfy the soul. Bring struggle when I need it; take away ease at Your pleasure. 179

Wanting sons these days, wanting to feed them, lift them, have them hound me, beg me in the name of a father.  And for me, it looks like no sons are in sight.  Still, as I read Job 12:10 again, ‘In His hand is the life of every living thing,’ I recognized that all I am and have is the Almighty’s. He could in one instant change the whole course of my life — with accident, tragedy, or any event unforeseen.  Job is a lesson in acceptance, not of blind resignation, but of believing acceptance, that what God does is well done.  So, Father, with happy committal I give you my life again this morning — not for anything special, simply to let you know that I regard it as Yours.  Do with it as it please You, only give me great grace to do for the glory of Christ Jesus whatever comes to me, ‘in sickness and in health.’ 184

This I know.  That if next year is as full of sweet surprises and things to be wondered at as has been this last one (and I have no reason now to expect anything less; the situations are analogous to their impossibilities) it will be but stronger evidence of the good hand of God upon and over us, keeping His promises and confirming all we have hoped in Him.  Is it not, for all its sting, a wonderful way to live, Betty?  To dream, and want and pray, almost savagely; then to commit and wait and see Him quietly pile all our dreams aside and replace them with what we could not dream, the realized Will? 191

The first man I ever watched die.  And so, one day, it will come to me, I kept thinking.  I wonder if that little phrase I used to use in preaching is something of a prophecy? — ‘Are you willing to lie in some native hut to die of a disease American doctors never heard of?’  I am still willing, Lord God.  Whatever You say shall stand at the time of my end.  But oh, I want to live to teach Thy Word.  Lord, let me live till I have declared Thy works to this generation. 199-200

I have been much impressed lately of the absolute necessity of God Himself rousing the conscience.  I do not know how, nor even where, to begin to make a man think seriously about sin and judgement, and must look to the work of the Holy Spirit for the beginning move toward any hint of such a working.  And pray that it will be so here, Betts, that God would take this work in hand and do it on His own lines.  To see Christ honored and testified to publicly by one of these young Indian fellows we now know as friends would be something like a miracle before my own very eyes.  Indeed, it would be a miracle, but I have never realized this fact so clearly as now.  God must do His work, or it will not be done, and we stand waiting for Him here. 202

The Lord gave me a victory in the loss, reminding me to be thankful for the abundance of possessions I have had.  God knows, and I believe He sent this that I might be weaned more and more from things material — even good, legitimate things — and have my affections set more firmly on Him whom to possess is to have everything.  Who could ask for more? 203

“Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  God had given us that desire and perhaps in the sense in which Jim had interpreted it in a letter to me written in 1949:  “It does not say He will give you what you want.  It does say He will give you the want.  Delight in Christ brings desire for Christ.  He gives the heart its desires — that is, He works in us the willing (Philippians 2:13).  This is why He can say in John 15:7 ‘Ye shall ask what ye will...if ye abide.’  The branch takes its sap from the vine, the same surges the vine feels then become the surges of the branch.  My will becomes His, and I can ask what I will, if I delight myself in Him.  Only then can my desire be attained, when it is His desire.  213

I have been thinking lately that life in the will of God is better in each phase that we enter, so I can say honestly today, ‘This is the best year of my life.’ Only now i don’t shout it as I once did, but I don’t despise the shouting, either.  I am praying this for you both: that there will not be a sense of climax and then a fading such as I have observed in some young married people.  But, rather, that the full experience of life, as it was meant to be lived from the beginning for adults, might be an increasing thing.  God delivered us from lolling back and saying, ‘I’ve had it.’ We haven’t had everything — only all we could take for the time being. 228

I do not know whether Jim had any premonition that God was going to take him up on all he had promised Him — going to answer literally his prayer of April 18, 1948: “Father take my life, yea, my blood if Thou will, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire.  I would not save it for it is not mine to save.  Have it, Lord, have it all.  Pour out my life as an oblation for the world.  Blood is only of value as it flows before Thine altar. 240

I knew that Jim would be leaving without me, and we began then to discuss the possibilities of his not returning.  “If God wants it that way, darling,” he said, “I am ready to die for the salvation of the Aucas.” 241


He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose (1949)

One treasure, a single eye, and a sole master (1948)

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee.  Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine.  I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus (1948)

Father, take my life, yea, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire.  I would not save it, for it is not mine to save.  Have it Lord, have it all.  Pour out my life as an oblation for the world.  Blood is only of value as it flows before Thine altar. (1948)

Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is often short-lived.  Canst thou bear this, my soul?  Short life?  In me there dwells the spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him.  ‘Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.’ (1948)

Are we willing to build with a trowel in one hand, while the other grasps a sword? (1948)


How few, how short these hours my heart must beat — then on, into the real world where the unseen becomes important. (1948)


As your life is in His hands, so are the days of your life.  But don’t let the sands of time get into the eye of your vision to reach those who sit in darkness.  They simply must hear.  Wives, houses, practices, education, must learn to be disciplined by this rule: ‘let the dead attend to the affairs of the already dead, go thou and attend the affairs of the dying.’ (1948)

Overcome anything in the confidence of your union with Him, so that contemplating trial, enduring persecution or loneliness, you may know the blessedness of the ‘joy set before,’ for ‘we are the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.’  And what are sheep doing going into the gate?  What is their purpose inside those courts?  To bleat melodies and enjoy the company of the flock?  No.  Those sheep were headed for the altar.  Their pasture feeding had been for one purpose: to test them and fatten them for bloody sacrifice. Give Him thanks, then, that you have been counted worthy of His altars.  Enter into the work with praise. (1949)

Remember — and I don’t mean to sound pedantic or impudent as if I knew all the costs — remember that we have bargained with Him who bore a Cross, and in His ministry to those disciples His emphasis was upon sacrifice, not of worldly goods so much as upon family ties.  Let nothing turn us from the truth that God has determined that we become strong under fire, after the pattern of the Son.  Nothing else will do.

‘O Prince of Glory, who dost bring

Thy sons to glory through the Cross,

Let us not shrink from suffering

Reproach or loss.’ (1949)

I must not think it strange if God take in youth those whom I would have kept on earth till they were older. God is peopling Eternity, and I must not restrict Him to old men and women. (1950)

Only I know that my own life is full.  It is time to die, for I have had all that a young man can have, at least all that this young man can have.  I am ready to meet Jesus. (Dec 1951)

The will of God is always a bigger thing that we bargain for. (1952)

I know that my hopes and plans for myself could not be any better than He has arranged and fulfilled them. Thus may we all find it, and know the truth of the Word which says, ‘He will be our Guide even until death.

Means of Sanctification