“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.'”
-Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
About the book…
While this book is once again written by Elisabeth Elliot, and contains an account of the death of the five missionaries who had set out to reach a native people group with the Gospel, it differs greatly from Through Gates of Splendor. This is a collection of Jim’s personal journal entries, letters, and other written works that give us a glimpse into his mind and heart, not only as a missionary, but as a teenager, young adult, husband, father, and most of all, as a follower of Jesus Christ.
About the author…
Elisabeth Elliot was born in Belgium to missionary parents. They moved back to the states when she was young, but throughout her childhood and teen years they hosted many missionaries in their home. It was no surprise when Elisabeth herself, became a missionary. She married Jim Elliot in 1953, and their daughter, Valerie was born in Ecuador where they served together. Jim was killed in 1956, and Elisabeth, or Betty as she was called more often than not, continued to serve in Ecuador. After her return to the states, she married Addison Leitch in 1969. He died of cancer in 1973. She later married Lars Gren and they were married until her death in 2015. Elisabeth was an author, a speaker, and a role model for girls and women seeking to follow Christ all over the world. May we all learn from her humility, faithfulness, and bravery, but even more so, may we learn to love the God she served whole-heartedly.
Some personal thoughts…
This book was a gift to me from a dear mentor, friend, and now devoted follower of the blog. I was eleven when I first read it, and read it again in middle school. My interest in it was rekindled earlier this year, when I loaned it to a friend, and after they read it, we talked quite a bit about it over the summer. This led to me re-reading it yet again, only to find it as encouraging as it was all those times before.
To read a story of someone who loved the Lord and served them whole-heartedly, even unto death, is one thing that changes you. To read the person’s very own journal entries, prayers, and letters, is an entirely different thing. It has a way of relating you to them like nothing else can do. You come face to face with the fact that they were human, just like you. They messed up, just like you. They laughed, just like you. They cried, just like you. They learned, just like you. They were redeemed, just like you. They were just like you. And there’s something really amazing about that.
They aren’t some super-ultra-top of the line-Christians. They aren’t a Steve Rogers turned Captain America, all of the sudden capable of things the average person only dreams of doing. They are just people. Humble people, who sometimes failed. They were still in Steve Rogers state, just like you and I. The one with all the power and glory and heroic capabilities, is the One we serve, not the one we become.
The thing about this book that has always really stood out to me, was that Jim had a plan. He knew what he wanted to do, and he worked towards it. But God had a different plan, and even Jim’s driven personality couldn’t get in the way of it.
Jim believed it better for him not to marry. He was supposed to reach the Auca’s. God chose for Jim’s wife to be the way he reached the Auca’s. It’s a great story, and a wonderful reminder, that sometimes, our plans aren’t the best ones. But we can trust, His will shall be done, regardless of how determined we are to head down the opposite path.
Things worth mentioning…
The five missionaries are speared to death in the end. It is a big part of the story, but such a testimony to God’s work through out own heartaches and sorrows. I highly recommend this book.
Here at The Corner Shelf you’ll find Shadow of the Almighty on The Top Shelf.