We all face challenges in life. We all have barriers or walls that stand in the way of us getting from where we are to where we want to be. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot were one of five couples who responded to God’s call to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador, and one of the walls they faced was a language barrier and the fact that no one had successfully made contact with the Huaorani people and lived to tell about it. They went in to the jungle knowing that they may not come out alive, but, as Jim Elliot so famously penned, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim, along with the four other missionary men, gave their lives January 8, 1956 at the hands of the very tribe that had come to share the Gospel with.
One might think that might make a widow bitter towards God, but through the pain of her loss, Elisabeth Elliot grew closer to the Lord and became a powerful voice in the church for decades challenging people with her teachings and her life. Where did she draw her strength? How did she keep her heart soft to God and available to be used by Him? She continued to stay in God’s Word, in His presence through prayer, and humbled herself through fasting.
Elisabeth Elliot once wrote, “One way to begin to see how vastly indulgent we usually are is to fast. It is a long day that is not broken by the usual three meals. One finds out what an astonishing amount of time is spent in the planning, purchasing, preparing, eating, and cleaning up of meals.” Such a practical take on the way fasting can change your outlook on life, and the perceived barriers or walls that we face. When our perspectives are more aligned with that of God we will begin to see the impossible become probable, and walls come down.
Whatever happened to the tribe who killed her husband? Well, Elisabeth would give two years of her life ministering to the very same tribe that took her husband’s life. The language barrier and Jim’s death weren’t enough to keep the Gospel from reaching their hearts. Just like the walls of Jericho came down, the wall that kept the Gospel from the Huaorani people of Ecuador came down. This month we invite you and your family to reevaluate the insurmountable “walls” that may be in your life and consider fasting for a breakthrough. It may cost you, but you just might gain what you cannot lose.