I’ve spent the last month or so reading Elisabeth Elliot’s Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. Jim Elliot was always a name I had heard thrown around but never took the time personally to investigate. Included in this book are journal entries and letters from Jim himself. These make up a great deal of the biography and give the reader a glimpse into his daily spiritual pilgrimage. I so appreciate these journal entries and letters to Elisabeth, friends, and family. Jim writes with such honesty. I love that. We don’t just get the mountain top experiences but the low valley-like struggle of walking with the Lord. Is it weird to say that I was encouraged as I read these not so glorious moments? The reaction I’ve had often has been, “you too?!” Yes, our spiritual heroes have their bad days. Sometimes it’s a bad day. Sometimes it’s a bad season. Thankfully, Jim always arrives back at The Lord Jesus Christ. Below are some entries from his journal that I’ve enjoyed over the past few days.
July 26. “Confession of pride–suggested by David Brainerd’s Diary yesterday–must become an hourly thing with me. How vile and base my thoughts 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.”
August 4. “I must confess much leanness of soul today, Oh Patient Shepherd. How often I have been angered at delay, short-spirited, anxious to criticize. I noticed tonight, too, that one does not live to himself in this regard, but that a little leavening of dissatisfied temper will spread through a group and change outlooks. Then too, Meek Savior, I must bring a boisterous tongue, roguish lips to Thee for cleansing. Oh to be holy! Just to sense for a moment that I have somehow, however feebly, simulated some measure of Thy character, Lord Jesus.”
August 21. “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 me pray again with earnest, honest heart: I will not to be great–only, God, grant to me Thy goodness.”
February 4. “Difficulty in getting anything at all from the Word. No fervency in prayer. Disturbance in the house, cold weather, and occasional headaches have made spiritual things less precious this whole week. I find I must drive myself to study, following the ‘ought’ of conscience to gain anything at all from the Scripture, lacking any desire at times.”
December 31. “This is New Years Eve. Light hearted and empty all day. Moved to sober prayer again. O Lord, you see the places secret in me, you know all my wanderings and reserves. If you see anything in me that is holding back the clear revelation of your will about Ecuador, uncover it to me, I pray.”