Lisa Barry: For two weeks now Elisabeth Elliot has been sharing the lives and legacies of women who have influenced her life. I for one have been challenged and motivated to trust God even more with my life. The important thing I've learned is that I don't need to be a famous person to leave a legacy-simply obedient. Elisabeth has one more woman to introduce us to today, so let's get started with this Friday edition of Gateway To Joy.
Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, talking again today about women who have greatly influenced my life.
I want to tell you a little bit more about Isobel Kuhn. I mentioned her earlier this week. I had the privilege of hearing her speak when she was probably in mid-life. This was before I was a missionary to Ecuador. I went to a meeting where she was the speaker. I wish I remembered what she said. I wish I had taken some notes.
But I do remember afterwards when I shook her hand-I don't know what it was that I said to her. Probably something about my misgivings about my future as a jungle missionary. She just took my hand so warmly between hers and she looked at me and she said, "But we have the Lord, and that's always best of all, isn't it?" I remembered those words. She was really quite a beautiful woman.
But I want to read to you her first little book. It's called BY SEARCHING. I hope it's still in print, but I'm not sure. It was published by Moody. Earlier this week, I had told you just a very little bit. She was not a Christian. She was not raised in a Christian home. But she came to know Christ and gave herself for missionary work, believing that God was actually calling her to China.
She learned about a little club called the V.G.C.C., which stood for the Vancouver Girls' Corner Club. She really didn't know very much about it. But very soon after she heard of it, she received an invitation to speak for these girls. She was delighted, and of course told them something about her conversion and her missionary call.
"After supper, the tables were cleared, pushed back and the chairs were arranged for the meeting. A platform and piano were at the end of the long room, and a bright evangelistic service was conducted for an hour. Christian business girls themselves led this meeting, and it was an enjoyable time, I thought.
In less than a week, I received a second phone call. It was from the girls' president of the V.G.C.C., who astounded me by an invitation to become their superintendent. I asked time to pray about it, and a date was set for my answer."
Well, I'll skip over a couple of pages. She did believe that God was calling her to accept the invitation to be the superintendent of this girls' corner club. Then she began to work with these girls, whose purpose was to witness to their friends who worked there in Vancouver, and perhaps to make a difference even in the lives of their bosses.
She writes, "I began to see what a power a Christian business girls' club could be. Through its interdenominational character, it was quietly reaching out and challenging young people's societies and many denominations throughout the city. And even into the business life of the city, an influence was going out. A lawyer asked what had caused the change in the life of his stenographer, and her answer had an effect on him.
I saw more and more the wonderful potentialities of the work when first things were kept first. But all our parties"-sometimes they would just have fun parties-"were threaded through with the love of Christ and a deadly earnestness that others might find Him, too. I think that is the secret. A merely social club helps nobody very much, for it doesn't offer any solution to the problems of life.
But let me tell you about two of the girls. Edith was a clever young girl who had come out from England to get work in Canada. She lived with an aunt while doing so. She met and fell in love with a young man, and we followed her joy, through the day she appeared in the lunchroom with her new diamond ring to the time when she said good-bye to office work and invited us all to her wedding. She had her dress and trousseau, had resigned her job, the wedding date was set and the invitations had all been mailed.
A night or so before the wedding, her telephone rang. Edith heard a strange woman's voice on the wire. 'Is it true that you are married to Mr. So and So in a couple of days?' 'Yes,' answered Edith wonderingly. 'I'm very sorry, but I must tell you he is already married. I am his wife. I have our wedding certificate here.'
Can you imagine the shock of this to that young English girl? The shame of it, the heartbreak, for she had given her love unreservedly. But you cannot imagine the worst. Her aunt, humiliated at having to cancel the wedding, in a towering rage ordered the girl out of the house. She would have no such thing of shame under her roof, she said.
Out on the street, homeless, wild with grief and heartache, where could Edith go? Her church? They were her aunt's type and would probably hold the same views. Corner Club. She crept in, broken, distraught, and found herself clasped on Mother Fitch's broad bosom. Corner Club protected her, loved her, found her a home and led her to the Lord.
She proved to be an exceptionally bright girl, and it was only a year or two before she had earned enough money to go back to England where her own mother still lived. It was a soul saved, and a young life saved as well."
I wish I had time to read you more of the stories of the results of that Vancouver Girls' Corner Club. But what that story tells me-what this little book called BY SEARCHING tells me is that God has most wonderful and unexpected ways of preparing us for the future. My future turned out to be so different from what I had expected. Here was God's hand moving, first of all, in a girl who was not even a Christian, and then carrying her through all kinds of different experiences, and then giving her the privilege of leading several young women in Vancouver to the Lord, before He gave her the privilege of going to China to take the Gospel of Christ.
She writes, "I always felt there was a peril in seeking just an experience from the Lord. The temptation is to think the experience has sanctified. It hasn't. These uplifting times in His presence, provings of His faithful care, enrich us, add to our joy, but they do not sanctify us. They do not make us stronger Christians. They do not make us holier than our fellows, as I was to learn to my shame. But they do make us richer in our knowledge of Him, and they give us joy that addeth no sorrow with it.
The only way to be holy is daily to hand over to the Holy Spirit what Dr. Tozer calls the hyphenated sins of the human spirit-self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-admiration, self-love, and a host of others like them, which can be removed only in spiritual experienced, never by mere instruction-as well as trying to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our 'self' sins to the cross for judgment." A very crucial lesson for a prospective missionary.
She had been able to save no money. She had had to help pay some of her father's debts. But she tells wonderful story after wonderful story of God's provision just in time. Finally at last, she received a call from the director of the mission that there was money waiting for her so she could at last go to China.
She had prayed very much about her final message at the Corner Club. She didn't know quite what to say to the girls, but God laid on her heart this message from Hebrews 6:1. "Let us go on."
"On October 11, 1928, I sailed for China. There was quite a large party of us, one being the little American girl who roomed next me in Ransom Hall at Moody Bible Institute." Many of the girls from her Corner Club had come to the wharf. They sang a hymn together. She says, "As the last notes quavered sadly on the high air, the unbelieving in the crowd, grasping the only best they knew, whispered.
The big anchors rattled as they were pulled up. The paper streamers began to tear as the mighty ship slowly drew away from the wharf. Beloved girl faces were working with emotion, and one or two were crying.
'Lord,' I whispered, 'give me a last word that they won't forget. A thrown voice could still reach the wharf. I leaned over the side and called out slowly, 'Let us go on.' Remember, that was the verse that she had spoken to them about the last time she had an opportunity to speak. The light of heaven broke through the tears of earth on some faces, so I knew they had heard. They waved their hands in a signal of assent, and then the Empress of Russia turned her stately head slowly toward the narrows, Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, and China."
Well, many is the missionary that has had that experience. But who of us would ever want to give up the will of God? The will of God, I say to young people, is far better, far more wonderful, than we could ever imagine.
Lisa Barry: What a great thought to end on. I'd like to leave you today simply with how you can contact us if you'd like more information on any of the books or packets, tapes or readings that Elisabeth has shared. We'd love to help you by making these materials easily available.
Just give us a call at 1-800-759-4JOY. Or you can write to Gateway To Joy at Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501. Many of you know about our Web site, but have you visited it lately? We've updated it with a new shopping mall concept. All of the resources from this series are available simply by pointing and clicking. So why not give our Web site ordering process a try? The address is gatewaytojoy.org. Gateway To Joy is a listener-supported production of Back to the Bible.
Thanks for joining us. I hope you'll listen again next week as we discover another Gateway To Joy.