Saturday, February 1, 2014

Some Gave All

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it;
but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
Mark 8:35
(KJV)


I sit here tonight, challenged beyond words.
We have just finished the book, "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot.
If you have never read this book, please, by all means, do your utmost to get your hands on a copy
and read it...all the way through...to the very end.

To buy it on amazon.com, click here.

It is one of the required reading books in Zachary's literature class for this year.

I will admit, it is not an easy read.
When you finish the book, you may be left with the same burning questions 
that are wrenching tears from my eyes as I write this.

Five brave, courageous, dedicated-past-the-point-of-selfishness missionaries
dared to venture into the territory of the Aucas, one of the most savage, uncivilized Indian tribes ever.
After seeing a flicker of hope when they were visited by three of the Indians,
they were brutally murdered two days later.
It was revealed that, after enjoying a pleasant visit with the five men,
two of the three Indian visitors (named George and Delilah by the missionaries)
had returned to their tribe and lied to their leaders,
telling them they were afraid the missionaries were going to kill them.
Their lie stirred up anger and wrath among the Aucas,
causing seven men and three women to attack the unsuspecting young missionaries,
spearing them to death and leaving their mutilated bodies floating in or near the Curaray River.

It is incomprehensible to me.
It seems so unfair.
After finishing the book, I have so many questions.
The biggest one being, "Why?"
Why couldn't they have been protected?
Why did they have to die?
Why were five women left widows?
Why were nine children left fatherless?
How could George and Delilah fabricate such a lie, when the only thing Jim, Ed, Pete, Roger, and Nate wanted to do was to show them love and lead them to Christ?
How could George betray them, after Nate was kind enough to take him up in his little plane...
not once but two times?
Why didn't these five men get to see the message of salvation delivered to the Aucas?
Why were their deaths permitted to be of such a violent nature?
Why?  Why?  Why?

There are questions that will never be answered in this life.
There are mysteries that will never be unveiled.

My respect for the five women who were left without husbands that January Sunday in 1956 soars,
as I consider the awful cost they were required to pay for their husbands' obedience to God.
Marj Saint, Elisabeth Elliot, Marilou McCully, Barbara Youderian, and Olive Fleming....
you can see all of them interviewed here.
It is definitely worth your time to watch this.
It will be of more interest to you after reading the book
and fully understanding the reason for their tears.



Click here if video doesn't load.

Since this video was made, Marj Saint and Marilou McCully have gone on to their reward.
They have been reunited in Heaven with Nate...and Ed....the men they loved....and lost so many years ago.

The reason Elisabeth chose the title "Through Gates of Splendor" for the book is because,
shortly before their deaths, the men sang a song called, "We Rest On Thee".

The lyrics to the fourth verse are...

"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.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days."
(Written by Edith G. Cherry in 1895)

After we finished the book, I had a burning desire to write to Elisabeth (author and wife of Jim Elliot)...
to say thank you, to tell her how much her book moved me,
to encourage her and let her know that her labors in producing a written account
of this incredible story was definitely not in vain.

Sadly, I found that Elisabeth, now 87, suffers from dementia and is no longer able to accept or return emails.
So she will never know...
how her faithfulness and how the devotion of her husband and his four friends affected me.
I know I am only one in probably millions...
who have read this book or heard this story or bought a copy of that infamous 1956 Life magazine.
How could anyone read it and not be moved....
to a deeper consecration to God,
to a more vehement desire to reach the lost,
to things that are of a higher and nobler nature?

I feel so challenged....so motivated....so inspired.
Throughout the book were several excerpts from the personal diaries of the men.
I sat there, highlighter in hand, and marked the parts that moved me most deeply.
These men were spiritual beyond their years.
They seemed to have a very unusual depth of spiritual understanding,
and most definitely a commitment and devotion to God that is of the rarest sort.

Thinking of missionaries and the sacrifices they make in this life
reminds me of the saying applied to military veterans....
"All gave some.  Some gave all."

These five men truly gave all they had.
Was it worth it?
What is the worth of one soul?
How can a person measure the value?
At the end of the day, neither their labors, nor their deaths were in vain.
The seeds they planted so long ago germinated and grew to sizable proportions.
After the death of the five missionaries, the Aucas realized their grave mistake.
Things, slowly began to turn around, and the light of the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ
began to trickle in to their savage jungle existence.
Nate's sister, Rachel Saint, along with Elisabeth Elliot,
 were eventually invited to come and live among the tribe.
Rachel Saint literally poured her life into loving and befriending the very people
who violently speared her brother to death.
All of these years later, Nate Saint's son, Steve Saint,
is very close friends with one of the very men who murdered his father.
Steve's son even calls him "Grandpa".
Peaceful relationships have been established,
and much good has been accomplished in the long run.
But, oh the personal cost to the martyrs and their families!

To see how the amazing grace and love of God can enable us to forgive,
please take the time to watch this video that explains the work Steve Saint continues to do
among the ones who initiated the killings.



 We read Zach's literature books aloud, as a family, in the evenings, as Kevin works.
As we got into the book and realized what was happening,
the three of us became so discouraged thinking of the "waste" of the lives of such Godly men.
My, what they could have accomplished for God...had they been permitted to live!

Then it hit us...these guys have been resting with Jesus since 1956.
They fulfilled the very purpose of the reason they were born.
They did what He wanted them to do...what the Holy Spirit led them to accomplish.
I have no doubt that the first words they heard as their spirits left their dying bodies...
there on the Ecuadorian sand that they had named "Palm Beach"....
were "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
They gave their lives for His cause, and He carried them to glory!
Looking at this through natural eyes, we see loss.
But, in reality, weren't they the winners?
Contemplating the tragedy, we see them as victims.
But, in God's perspective, aren't they triumphant victors?
What could be better than the great reward they were given?

We get so focused on this life.
On what we can see.
On how things will affect us.
On the way we are "put out".

The thing we forget is that it is not about us.
It is not about us.
I am learning that more and more.
God has been working on me so much throughout this sickness.
Yes, I am still in the battle, but praise our wonderful God,
I got the report today that my lungs are clear!!!!
The pneumonia is finally gone, praise His wonderful name!!
Some other health issues remain and are still plaguing me,
which lets me know....loudly and clearly....
that God still wants to teach through this trial,
and He is keeping me in a place of stillness and willingness to learn.

Last night, in the night, I was struggling so much.
I felt like my nerves were going to give way....literally.
Tossing.  Turning.  Longing for sleep that refused to come.
Jesus began to speak to me....oh, praise His name!
Oh, the immeasurable worth of the sound of His precious voice!
Can it be told?

"Child, I am allowing what you are going through,
because you need to better understand others.
You will now be able to better and more deeply relate to those who face similar situations.
Why do you think it was necessary for me to come to earth?
I needed to become one of you...
I needed to live in your skin....
I needed to feel what you feel.
How else would I have ever known?
How else could I ever be so deeply touched with the feelings of your infirmities?
I remember what being human felt like.
I will never forget it.
I suffered the full gamut...so that I can now comfort you.
You are suffering what you are suffering so you will be better able to comfort others."

He brought 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 to my mind.
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies,
and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."


I was in our recliner...leaned back...trying to sleep...as He spoke.
When the full impact of what He said sunk in to me,
I jerked upright not wanting to miss one word.
It was profound....a major moment of enlightenment.

Here I am.
Complaining.
Longing for healing.
Begging God to release me..completely...from this affliction.
When all along, He is trying to teach me to be more understanding.
To be less judgmental.
Less critical.
More open-minded to the multiple ways He chooses to answer prayer.
To better comprehend that He does not always do things the exact way I think He should.

He spoke on...
"Could I heal you instantly?
Could I just speak the word, and you would be completely well?
Certainly I could.
I am allowing this to open your eyes to the fact that sometimes I work through means
other than what you have in mind.
My thoughts are far above your thoughts.
I see things that you do not see.
I don't need assistance, but sometimes, for various reasons,
 I allow my creation to assist Me in My work.
I am God.
I don't need anything.
But, I sometimes use humanity to aid in the making of miracles.
I want you to open your mind to allowing Me to work through the channel and method I deem best.
I am stripping you of all spiritual pride....layer by layer....
by allowing you to drink the dregs...
to suffer what others suffer....
to be led down the same paths they walk...
to better understand...
to open your heart....
and to level the playing field.
You have felt loftier than some...because of choices they have made...
because you had never gone through what they did,
you did not understand.
Now you do.
This trial is to humble you.
To make you see...that you are not just among others....
you are one of the others.
You are all equal in My eyes."

His voice continued to speak...to reveal...to open to me what was in His heart.
Personal things....revelations so profound that my jaws dropped open.

Dross!
Ugly, stinking, filthy dross!
Rising to the surface.
Making itself evident.
Appearing out of nowhere...unbeknownst to me...
it has been there....lurking....infecting my spirit....under the surface.

Now I know.
I will never look at certain situations the same way again.

Walking in someone else's shoes 
sure has a way of summoning compassion.
The kind of compassion that moves us to do something.

Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered.
He would never have fully understood us,
had He never become one of us.

We will never completely understand others...or the choices they sometimes make...
until we are humbled to walk in their shoes...
feel their pain...
live through their afflictions...
and fight their battles.

It is so plain to me now.

"Child, do you remember that you once said you wanted to know Me?
Really know Me?
More intimately....better than ever before?
I know you meant those words.
I know you mean them now....as much as ever.
This is how you get to know Me.
This is how you learn of Me.
By yoking yourself to Me.
By walking in the shoes of suffering.
By losing your will in Mine,
allowing Me to lead the team,
and submitting yourself to the lessons I so long to teach.
You know Me now...much more than ever before.
You are learning a whole new level of compassion for humankind.
You will never be as judgmental again.
This dross-filled pride was not something you were aware of.
Now you are.
This is the purpose for what you are going through.
Do you understand?
I am purging you...refining you...purifying you.
Each time a layer is stripped away, you become more dross-free.
Do you see?"

"Yes, Jesus, my dear Lord, I see!"

I must live through some struggles, so I will be more understanding,
compassionate, and tolerant of others in the same struggles....
so that I can "comfort them which are in any trouble."

YES, dear, precious Lord.
YES!

It is absolutely the only way.
There is no way around this.
This dross-purging is not fun.
It is not easy on the flesh.
But, I so long to be more of what He wants me to be.
I yearn to please Him...to work for Him...to reach out and to really connect with those who need comfort.
How else could I ever hope to do that?
The only way to do any of this is to walk this walk.
Talking the talk, without actually walking the walk means nothing.
It holds no weight....possesses no substance.

I look forward to the day He sees the dross is removed and His image is reflected.
What a feeling to walk out of this heated furnace with less dross than I had when I walked in!

If He gave us everything we wanted, the moment we first demanded it of Him,
would we ever really learn to trust?
Would we ever learn anything...at all?
Would we ever be able to relate to others who are suffering?
Would we ever come to understand and appreciate the value of waiting on the Lord?
Would we ever pay a drop of attention to Him?
Would we ever stop long enough to hear His voice?
Would we ever stop judging our brother 
if we never took a walk in his shoes?
Would we ever know how to relate if we never experienced our sister's pain?

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Nate and Marj Saint, Roger and BarbaraYouderian, 
Ed and Marilou McCully, and Pete and Olive Fleming made the choice 
to walk the walk of the lost ones.
To become one of them.
They chose to live among the violent barbarians....
to give up self-filled dreams to follow a self-denying path like the Apostle Paul.
 In I Corinthians 9:22, he wrote,
"To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak:
I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
They left parents and houses and lands to go to a foreign, unfamiliar place.
Once they got there, they caught sight of an even costlier quest...
farther in....deeper in to the jungle....than any other human had ever been able to span....
to reach the unreachables.
They knew it was at the peril of their lives.
They did it anyway.

One of the most impressive quotes found written in the diary of Jim Elliot was this one,
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Jim and his friends gave all...for the cause of Christ....
because He gave all for them...centuries earlier.

Should we offer Him any less?
In return for all He has done....for us?
Didn't He become one of us...so He could better understand our condition?
Didn't He condescend?
The Master of all serving undesirables.
The Lord of lords washing dirty feet.
The King of kings walking in a pauper's shoes.
Our Example!
The One Whose ultimate sacrifice inspired five missionaries to surrender all...
whose story has inspired countless others to do the same.

Their story needs to be told...and re-told....and told over again...until time shall end.

It has left an unforgettable impact...
stamped a permanent, unerasable imprint....
created an irrevocable challenge...
deep in the heart of me.
It has stoked afresh the fires of consecration...
of willingness to be set apart...to an even greater degree...
than ever before.

How about you, my friend?
Are you determined to follow Him?
To lay aside personal ambition for His sake?
To consecrate deeper than ever before?
To give up all to the One Who gave up all for you?

He may never require you...or me...to travel across the sea.
He may never ask us to put ourselves in the position of the missionaries.

Whether He does, or whether He doesn't,
there is no cause to fear.
Perfect love for a greater cause casts it out.
(I John 4:18)

It is so much easier to just walk through life relaxed, unaffected, and unmoved
by the fact that there are people in this world who have never heard about Jesus Christ
and what He did for them on Calvary.
It is so much more comfortable to bury our heads in the sand,
purposely and intentionally overlooking the fact
that the Great Commission applies to all of us,
and we are all responsible with what we do with the Gospel.
It is so much gentler on the flesh to just fulfill our weekly obligation of getting up,
driving to church in comfort,
warming an amply-padded church pew for a couple of hours,
and patting ourselves on the back as we walk out the church door....
feeling pious for doing such "Christian" things.

Is that really what Jesus had in mind, in Mark 16:15, when He said,
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"?

Is that what He meant in Mark 8:34, when He said,
"Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross,
and follow Me"?

Were these just options Jesus was throwing out there for us to choose from....
mixed in with several other multiple-choice life choices?

Oh, dear Lord!
Anguish overwhelms my spirit as I think of the apathy!
The lackadaisical mindset.
The spiritual laziness.
The total disregard for carrying on His work.
The complete unwillingness to do anything that is hard...
or sacrificial....
or uncomfortable...
or against the grain of our so-easily-offended flesh!

Are we just willing to give some?
Or are we willing to give all?
Do we keep God...and His cause...at arm's length...
hoping someone else will pick up the slack....
and save the lost?

God help us to wake up!
How much time do we really have left?
The signs of the time tell the story....
not very much, at the most.

Even if Jesus tarries His coming, how long do we have...on an individual basis?

It hits me that I am 47 years old.
Even if I live a normal life-span,
have I already lived more years than I have left to live?
Only God knows.

What little I have done!
How little sacrifice!
When Jesus...and so many others...have given all.

Dear Lord, shouldn't I redeem the time?
The days are becoming more evil.
Souls perish.
Will Jesus have died for them in vain?


Wherever the path of His will, 
God will always provide everything we need.

All we have to do is be willing to follow Him.

Jim, Nate, Pete, Roger, and Ed did....
right through the gates of splendor.



24 comments:

  1. Hi Cheryl,
    This is such a beautifully written post. As I was reading about the story of the five missionaries, I stopped to watch the video. It brought me to tears, and I couldn't help but wonder, "why?", I just saw this as such a horrible loss of life. I looked at the picture with carnal eyes. I would love to find this book, I'm very interested in reading it, and will do a Google search to see if it can be purchased somewhere online. What struck me most, is the faith these ladies had after the loss of their husband's. They STILL had faith in God and what they were doing there. I'm happy to hear that in the end, souls were saved, and the missionaries 'mission', was in fact very successful!

    So happy I visited you today, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with deadlines, commitments, etc. I needed this.
    And I'm glad to hear you are feeling better from the pneumonia.

    Marissa

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    1. Marissa, Your words were precious and so encouraging to me today! I am so thankful you stopped by here. I trust God will be your stay and that you will meet every deadline and commitment on time. Thank you ever so much for your kind words. Love, Cheryl

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  2. So glad you posted the video along with your devotion for today. It's so hard to understand why God allows certain things to happen in our life but we can trust Him and know that He really does work all things together for His good. What the devil means for our harm, God uses for His greater good.

    Thank you for visiting my other blog (cottage sweet cottage). I'm in the process of moving things over to this new blog gradually. (((hugz)))

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    1. Hi, Lil! So happy you stopped here today! I love what you said about God using for His greater good what the devil means for our harm. God is so faithful! I so enjoyed your blog and look forward to more blessed visits together. :) God's peace be with you always. Love, Cheryl

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  3. I love that, all we have to do is be willing to follow! xoxoxo

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    1. Yes, sweet friend...it is all God requires of us. Yet, sometimes the enemy makes it seem so dread-filled. He has a way of paralyzing our steps and future progress by painting the blackest pictures. I am praying for you and believing God for your miracle. I expect to hear a victory report from you any day!! Lots of love and hugs to you, Cheryl

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  4. Cheryl,

    A very devastating experience for the victims of these brave and faithful men. I am saddened by their fate, and cannot imagine the cruelty that they endured. The strong belief in God that their wives continued to have is very inspiring, indeed and to know that mission, in the end was successful, is positive.

    Thank you for sharing their incredible story.

    Poppy

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    1. Poppy, It was so nice to have you stop by today! I feel so sad thinking of these five brave men, too. Their testimony and the testimony of their wives has challenged me more than words can express. May the dear Lord bless and keep us inspired to do His will. :) Love and peace to you today, Cheryl

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  5. Hi, I am your newest follower :) It is very welcoming here. The post gives you a lot to think upon. See the top photograph of the quilt did you make that yourself? I do love creativity although I am not very handy at it myself.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. So happy you came by here to visit today and beyond grateful to have you as a follower! Thank you for your kind words. They mean so much! Would you believe I bought that quilt at a flea market for $10.00?? It was lying on the ground...I am not even sure if the lady was planning to sell it! She may have been planning to use it to cover something. But, to me, it is a gem! I offered to buy it, and she sold it to me. I LOVE old quilts! I do some quilting...there are pictures of one quilt I finished on a blog post from November 17, 2012, called "Virtuous Care of Heart & Home", in case you would like to see it. I look forward to our future visits together, and I am heading over to your site next. :) Love to you, Cheryl

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  6. Thanks for blessing our hearts, Cheryl.
    Have a blessed week :-)

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    1. You, too, Kath! Thanks so much for stopping by. Love and peace to you, dear sister! :)

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  7. Wow. Thank you for sharing the bravery of these men as well as the redemption and forgiveness that followed.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by here today, Laura! You brightened my day. :) Love, Cheryl

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  8. We have read this book and it blessed us so much! Our oldest son has been privileged to spend time working with Jessie Saint Nate's grandson, Steve's son) down at I-TEC, and we love that family. Glad to see you visited DRAH, too :)
    May the dear Lord bless you today with courage and an abundance of wisdom, peace, faith, and joy. May it permeate your whole family :) I appreciate you!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Jacqueline! That is wonderful that your son had that experience with Jessie Saint. I surely appreciate you, too! Love to you, dear sister.

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  9. Hi There, linking up after you are a little R&R. I think it's incredible and so humbling at the same time how God uses human beings to touch others' lives. :) YES, it is inspirational. You may want to also watch the movie At The End of the Spear. I found it riveting, extremely moving, and inspirational. Our testimonies vary so much, and we are all being used by God in so many ways, as we allow the Spirit to move in our lives. God works despite us our weaknesses and unwillingness, but how awesome to be a willing participant!
    Blessings from Madagascar
    Grace For That
    Barber Family serving with MAF

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    1. Yes, it is such a privilege to serve the One Who died for us! So thankful to have you stop by today...God's peace and blessings be upon you as you work for Him. Love in Christ, Cheryl

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  10. I read the biography of Nate Saint with my small people a couple of years ago. The sacrifice made by those men (and their wives and children) for the souls of the Auca people made me really look at my life and my motives. Do I care enough about the people around me and where they will spend eternity? Sadly most of the time I am far too self-focused. Thank you for sharing at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama.

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    1. So thankful for you, Tamara, and for the weekly link-up. Thank you for stopping by here today. Love to you, Cheryl

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  11. I love Elizabeth Elliot and have many of her books. What heroes of the faith, martyrs for the gospel. Words fail to express how small I feel when I think of what some have given for the cause of Christ. I'm next to you at Holley's.

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    1. I know what you mean! Me, too! So happy you stopped by today! Love, Cheryl

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  12. It is difficult to accept how such a tragedy could be turned into good but it was! We have so many “Why Questions.” Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Yes, it is difficult to accept. So many times, it is. Only God understands and knows. Thank you so much for the link-up, Hazel!

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