A Shade and a Shelter

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

Many Christians around the globe cannot read this verse without thinking of the life of Jim Elliot.  

He was born in Oregon in 1927.  Raised in a family devoted to Christ, early on he exuded a fearless resolve to follow Christ.  A natural leader, he would not shrink back from speaking out for Christ.  

He made it his practice to meet God daily in the Scriptures.  He knew the Bible.  He loved the Bible.  He loved the God of the Bible.  In fact, he had a most unusual hunger to know God.  

He was also a gifted writer and he kept a journal.  He once wrote, “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”  (He wrote this as a college student!)  

As a young man, he went to Ecuador to reach people for Christ.  He learned Spanish.  Then he moved to the edge of the Amazon jungle to minister to Quichua Indians.  There he married Elisabeth, a woman he had known since college.  

But he and four other young missionaries were drawn to the Huaoranis, a small tribe that had never been reached for Christ.  The tribe was also primitive and dangerous.  

In 1956, Jim and his four friends were martyred by the Huaoranis.  Jim was only 28.  Fortunately, his wife Elisabeth compiled his letters and journal entries into a book about his life and convictions.  She decided to title the book from Psalm 91:1, and called it Shadow of the Almighty.  The book is powerful.  

Jim Elliot epitomized Psalm 91:1.  God was his shelter, his refuge.  He lived his life, too brief by our standards, full out, resting in the shadow of the Almighty.  

If I could choose one person in the last 100 years who best reflected the passion Paul had for Jesus, I would choose Jim Elliot.  He is one of those few people who could say what Paul said and mean it just as much as Paul meant it:  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).