Journals of Jim Elliot

Years ago I received a book titled The Journals of Jim Elliot, a collection of devotional thoughts, personal reflections, and comments on Scripture from a man whose story has touched millions of lives. Fresh out of college, newly married with a young child, Jim and four other men and their spouses and children moved to Ecuador to begin mission work with the Waodani, an Amerindian tribe never before exposed to the Gospel. All five men were killed. Later, family members of the martyred men, including Jim’s widow Elisabeth, returned to reach out to the tribe. Two of the men responsible for the murders converted to Christianity. This amazing story has been reenacted in a film titled End of the Spear (trailer here) and documented in a second film titled Beyond the Gates of Splendor (trailer here). If you’ve never read or seen this story, I would encourage you to check out either of these films or do some reading online.

Today, for the first time in a few years, I took the book off the shelf and read it. I was struck by this journal entry, written by Jim when he was a junior in college. It reveals how passionate he was about becoming a man who exhibited the nature of Jesus Christ. May you be challenged by his words as I was today:

October 27, 1948: Sense a great need of my Father tonight. I do not feel needy [for God] enough. Sufficiency in myself is a persistent thought, though I try to judge it. Lord Jesus, tender lover of this brute soul, wilt Thou make me weak? I long to understand Thy sufficiency and my inadequacy, and how can I sense this except in experience? So, Lord, Thou knowest what I am able to bear. Send trouble that I might know peace; send anxiety that I might know rest in Thee. Send hard things that I may learn to rely on Thy dissolving them. Strange askings, and I do not know what I speak, but my desire to toward Thee- anything that will intensify and make me tender, Savior. I desire to be like Thee, Thou knowest.


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