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Grace that is Greater

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  Jim Elliot

On January 8, 1956 – 63 years ago today – Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian were killed on a sand bar in the Curaray River of Ecuador by Huaorani warriors.

As a child I wondered about that event, and I puzzled over God’s promise: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Why had God abandoned these five missionaries when they needed Him most? He didn’t supply guns for protection. He didn’t provide a helicopter for escape. He didn’t provide a thunderstorm to frighten away the attackers. 

Over the years I have come to realize that God provided them with exactly what they needed – He gave them the grace to die martyrs’ deaths.

That event is credited with sparking the modern mission movement. It challenged millions of Christians to pray. It inspired thousands of young missionaries to go overseas. And it unleashed hundreds of millions of dollars for world missions.

We think we need peace, prosperity, safety, and success. But what those five needed in 1956 was God’s grace, enabling to do what He called them to do. And that is what we need today.  


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