I remember the day in July 1994 when I met Elisabeth Elliot at Camp Greystone. What I remember most about this wonderful woman was her unwavering trust that God would always supply what was needed. She spoke to the campers and staff about God’s provision–including her famous story of the ant that retrieved a contact lens for a mountain climber. Back then, I was in awe of her faith in God’s miraculous provision.
I know this is a very strange memory to share, but I was stunned that Elisabeth Elliot had been married three times. It seemed that God simply kept providing what she needed in a spouse when her former spouse left her to be with Jesus. I was 19 and so worried about my own future. Would I marry? Would God care for me? I wondered about this God who cared for Mrs. Elliot through the tragic loss of her first husband. I wondered about the peace she had in her heart and how she told us we could trust God to care for us–even through loss and pain and sorrow.
Later, I read this quote of hers: “God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — ‘severe mercies’ at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our heart’s desire except to give us something better.”
I am learning that if God doesn’t provide something I think I need, it can be seen as a severe mercy. I continue to learn to trust God even in His refusals.
I’m so glad I met this wonderful woman when I did and so thankful for her life and ministry.