Elisabeth Elliot

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Weekly Devotionals

Something Much Smaller

June 10, 2021
Has it ever happened with you that you have asked God to show you what He wants done about a certain matter, and His answer seems to be, “I am concerned now with something much smaller”?  He sometimes shows me that the thing that looms large in importance to me is not nearly so important to God just now.  He would rather I please Him in some “minor” thing.  This is the thing that matters at the moment.   A husband or wife may be thinking of some special occasion when he or she can demonstrate love, but what the other...
Weekly Devotionals

Small Change

June 3, 2021
We have promised the Lord our loyalty and lifelong obedience, “at any cost.”  We imagine perhaps having to pay the high price of death itself—losing our loved ones, or losing our own lives in the line of service.  We are not prepared for the “low” costs of the spiritual life, the petty sacrifices we must make daily (according to the wish of another in some simple thing, saying no to ourselves about a piece of cake, for example), if we are to follow faithfully.  We keep the small change in our pockets, as it were, instead of gladly turning it over...
Weekly Devotionals

Sudden Change

May 27, 2021
Suddenly it happens that a source of life or joy or refreshment is cut off?  The supply dries up and we panic—‘’What shall I do now?”  The panic results from our habit of expecting people and circumstances to operate according to our wishes. When they change, the heat is turned on, drought is imminent, and unless we remember the single unfailing Source of Life, we shrivel. The father of a young family, for example, faces the loss of his job; a woman long active in serving other for the Lord has to learn to be served; a girl is abandoned by the man who...
Weekly Devotionals


May 20, 2021
"I must admit I feel a lot of pressure with two children under two years of age. I am committed to do it until they are in school, however, and feel it is God's will. At times like this — when I wonder if I will even be able to finish this letter with both of them screaming for something— or when I miss going to lunch or getting dressed up, everyday life seems a drudgery. I worked hard to get through college — to be a scrubwoman, ha!"  I understand this mother's cry. So does the Lord. He has given...
Weekly Devotionals

A Life’s Work

May 13, 2021
Few women today are concerned about ironing sheets, but it is still possible to let many other things take precedence over the primary task. It is sobering to contemplate that day when we must answer to a holy God for the things done and not done. Hear the concerns of an unidentified writer of another era:  I am sadly concerned that thousands of mothers are so over-burdened that the actual demands of life from day to day consume all their time and strength. But of two evils, choose the lesser: which would you call the lesser — an unpolished stove...
Weekly Devotionals

My Mother

May 6, 2021
She was Kath to her close friends, Dearie to my father, and always Mother (never Mom) to her six children.  She held us on her lap when we were small and rocked us, sang to us, and told us stories. We begged for the ones about "when you were a little girl."  Katharine Gillingham was born June 21, 1899 in Philadelphia. We loved hearing about the butler who did tricks for her behind her parents' backs and about the alarmed postman who rushed to rescue the screaming child with her arm down a dog's throat until he heard what she...
Weekly Devotionals

My Spiritual Mother

April 29, 2021
Katherine Morgan has been a missionary in Pasto, Colombia, for fifty years. She has been a friend of mine for thirty-four of those years and has done for me what Paul said Onesiphorus did for him: refreshed me often. Katherine's husband died when they had been married only six years, but she carried on their missionary work and reared their four little girls. To Katherine I owe more than I can ever tell. She more or less booted me to Ecuador. I was a missionary candidate without a field, didn't know quite how to find one, talked to her, and within months...
Weekly Devotionals

Invisible Blessings

April 22, 2021
Being very much of the earth—earthy—we always want tangible, visible things:  proofs, demonstrations, something to latch on to.  If we always have them, of course faith would be “struck blind.”  When Jesus hung on a cross, the challenge was flung at Him:  Come down!  He stayed nailed, not so that spectators would be satisfied (that miracle, His coming down, would have been a great crowd-pleaser), but that the world might be saved.   Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution.  Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of God will be served, and this...
Weekly Devotionals

Where to Begin

April 15, 2021
To be transformed into the image of Christ, we must know His character, love His obedience to the will of the Father, and begin, step by step, day by day, to walk the same pathway. A very big order, we say.  How shall we even begin?  The answer is that we must begin where He began—with self-emptying.  And how can we possibly do that?  Why, at the Cross.  There we are crucified—with Christ—and the sinful self is destroyed (see Rom. 6:6).  What happens next? If we. . . died with Christ, we believe that we shall also come to life with him, (Rom. 6:8). Help...
Weekly Devotionals

Looking at Graves

April 8, 2021
Matthew tells us in the last chapter of his Gospel that the two Marys came early in the morning, “to look at the grave.”  We can picture the sorrowful scene—two women in the gray dawn standing helplessly, contemplating the tomb.  There was nothing left to hope for, nothing left to see but a rock.  We can see their drawn faces, bowed heads, the sag of their shoulders.  Can we possibly picture those faces when there came a sudden earthquake, the descent of an angel, and the stone was rolled away from the grave?  The angel was so dazzling, the guards (tough men, surly,...
Weekly Devotionals

Death Shall Not Hold Us

April 1, 2021
The power of the Resurrection is a power that vanquishes every other power in heaven or Earth.  The battle was the bitterest ever fought, but death was the loser; Jesus, the victor.  Because “the tomb could not hold Him; snapped like a straw death’s omnipotent bars,”1 sin and death and sorrow need not hold us either.  The same power is available to us if we will take it by faith. There are many tombs in which we may be held if we succumb to the powers of sin and death.  Hatred, self-pity, bitterness, resentment—these are tombs.  By the power that raised...
Weekly Devotionals

Nothing is Lost

March 25, 2021
A pastor's wife asked, "When one witnesses a work he has poured his life into 'go up in flames' (especially if he is not culpable), is it the work of Satan or the hand of God?"  Often it is the former, always it is under the control of the latter. In the biographies of the Bible we find men whose work for God seemed to be a flop at the time -- Moses' repeated efforts to persuade Pharaoh, Jeremiah's pleas for repentance, the good king Josiah's reforms, rewarded in the end by his being slain by a pagan king. Sin had...
Weekly Devotionals

New England Spring

March 18, 2021
Although it barely feels like spring in New England at present, in honor of the First Day of Spring we bring you, in the midst of Lent, a taste of the promise of a glorious spring from the pen of Elisabeth Elliot . . .  Springtime in New England is unrecognizable most of the time. Year after year we look forward to it, long for it, and when March and April arrive feel we have a right to it. It gives us a little nod once in a while. The peepers, I have to admit, never fail us. No matter what else refuses to budge, those tiny...
Weekly Devotionals

The Supremacy of Christ

March 11, 2021
Last October I received a copy of the Auca (now known as Waorani) translation of the New Testament. The orthography has been greatly altered since my day, so I can't read much of it now, but leafing through the pages I thought long, long thoughts. I had had nothing to do with the translation. I was with the Aucas only two years, during which Rachel Saint and I worked on reducing the language to writing, but we had barely begun to translate a few Bible stories when my daughter Valerie and I returned to Quichua work.  Sometimes I am asked to speak to young people who...
Weekly Devotionals


March 4, 2021
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Ps 40:1, NIV). The tests of our willingness to wait patiently for the Lord comes almost daily for most of us, I suppose. Probably I am among the Lord's most impatient servants, so the lesson has to be reviewed again and again. A tough test came when my daughter's family (of ten) was searching for a house.  Southern California is not a place where one would wish to conduct that search. It's a long story, but at last, all other possibilities having been exhausted, a house...
Weekly Devotionals

A Strange Peace

February 25, 2021
Shortly before my daughter Valerie, my only child, went off to college as a freshman, a “sudden tide” came over me one morning as I was working in the kitchen. She had been the great joy of my life for seventeen years. When she was about eleven or twelve, friends heard me speak of what seemed to me a near-perfect mother-daughter relationship. “Oh, but wait till she’s a teenager!” they warned, “then you’ll have some rough times.” I was still waiting. I could not conceive of life without her.  “She has grown up,” I told myself. “My job is finished,...
Weekly Devotionals

All Things Serve Thee

February 18, 2021
The Lord’s decrees (His promises, His plans, His every word) stand fast, no matter what news we receive.  A child has run away.  A mother has cancer.  A business has failed.  The events in our private lives and the great catastrophes in the world do not budge the solid ground on which the Christian takes his position.  How can this be?  Are there not conditions that harm and hinder and destroy?  Not in the end.  There is nothing on Earth or in hell or heaven, in time or eternity, that can alter in any final sense what God has promised—because all things serve...
Weekly Devotionals

Learning the Father’s Love

February 11, 2021
When my brother Dave was very small, we spent a week at the seaside in Belmar, New Jersey.  In vain my father tried to persuade the little boy to come into the waves with him and jump, promising to hold him safely and not allow the waves to sweep over his head.  He took me (only a year older) into the ocean and showed Dave how much fun it would be.  Nothing doing.  The ocean was terrifying.  Dave was sure it would mean certain disaster, and he could not trust his father.   On the last day of our vacation he...
Weekly Devotionals

Interruptions, Delays, Inconveniences

February 4, 2021
Emily, wife of America's first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, wrote home from Moulmein, Burma, in January 1847: "This taking care of teething babies, and teaching natives to darn stockings and talking English back end foremost ... in order to get an eatable dinner, is really a very odd sort of business for Fanny Forester [her penname-she was a well-known New England writer before marrying Judson] .... But I begin to get reconciled to my minute cares." She was ambitious for ''higher and better things," but was enabled to learn that "the person who would do great things well must practice daily...
Weekly Devotionals

How to Discover What God Wants

January 28, 2021
A young woman came in great perplexity to a Scottish preacher, asking how she could resolve the question of her own desires when they seemed to be in such contradiction to the will of God. He took out a slip of paper, wrote two words on it, handed it to her with the request that she sit down for ten minutes, ponder the words, cross out one of them, and bring the slip back to him. She sat down and read: No Lord. Which to cross out? It did not take her long to see that if she was saying No she could not say Lord,...
Weekly Devotionals


January 21, 2021
Full moon on a silver sea.  Shadows throwing into sharp relief the luminous rocks.  I sat in the antique rocking chair by the window, a cup of hot Postum in my hand, fascinated by the undulation of great swaths of foam on the ocean, almost fluorescent in the moonlight.   Stillness.  Perfect stillness.  It is a very great gift, not always available to those who would most appreciate it and would find joy in it, and often not appreciated by those who have it but are uncomfortable with it.  External noise is inescapable in many places—traffic on land and in the...
Weekly Devotionals

The Future Is Not Our Province

January 7, 2021
While a new year offers us a fresh start, it can also bring anxiety.  Questions crowd into our minds.  Will my job become redundant?  Is God going to keep me single for another whole year?   Where is that mate He’s supposed to be bringing me?  Where will the money come from for college, rent, clothes, food?  Must I continue to suffer this person, this church, this handicap, this pain, this loneliness?  We have a calming word in Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your...
Weekly Devotionals

Discerning the Call of God

December 31, 2020
As a little girl I especially loved the story of God’s call to the child Samuel as he lay sleeping in the temple.  I wondered if God would ever call me.  Would I hear Him?  What would He say?  Throughout my growing years I read missionary stories and heard them told at our dinner table by guests from many lands who came to stay with us.  I was always eager to know just how they were called.  As a college student I worried much about whether I would fail to follow the Shepherd, would be deaf to His call.  I thought it...
Weekly Devotionals

The Nativity

December 24, 2020
Out of the dusk, a promise (Is. 9:6) Out of the dark, a star (Mt. 2:2) Out of the world, a maiden (Lk. 1:38) Out of the night afar (Is. 9:2) Resounds the angel’s message (Lk. 2:14) Which shepherds heard them sing (Lk. 2:8) Out of the dawn, redemption (Eph. 1:7) Into the world, a King! (Rev. 17:14) source unknown—sent to me by Aunt Anne Howard, Christmas 1951 Ponder, if you can, both the majesty of that King whose hands formed the universe, and the meekness that assented to come into the world a helpless infant, utterly dependent on His...