Choosing To Live In The Truth
Suffering. An uncomfortable word? A desperate experience? The world we live in is sold out to minimizing anything that contributes to it in our personal experience. But what do we do when we are sold out to Christ? Or when we purport to be so?
For this article, your Missions Committee decided to try something a little different. Many books have been written over the years about believers who went through experiences of suffering. Here is a review of two well-written books illustrating the stories of people choosing to live in the Truth they knew over taking the easier path. Both have a focus on the transforming power of the gospel and making the choice to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to take steps toward what seems impossible.
The first story is told by author Rifqa Bary in her book Hiding in the Light (2015). She came to America as an 8-year-old with her Muslim family. As her father said, she was born a Muslim. An earlier accident caused by her brother brought blindness to one eye. It also created a point at which she was moved from being doted over to being abused by multiple family members in multiple ways.
Rifqa’s treatment in America remained abusive, but God put several Christians in her life and drew her to Him at age 16. When her secret was exposed, her life itself was in unyielding danger. She had to flee her family home in the middle of the night. The ways God provided for her during her escape and subsequent legal process were so intricate and amazing. It is encouraging to see the intention God had for Rifqa even though the life-events she had to go through didn’t make sense at the time.
Second on the reading list is Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn (2020). This recent volume is a great addition to the tomes written both by and about this missionary to the Quichua tribe in Ecuador. A young Elisabeth was impacted by acquaintances whose lives were lived and lost for the Gospel in places like India and 1930’s communist China. Elisabeth worked through a significant dose of her own grief when, along with four others, her own husband was speared to death by the tribe in 1956.
Elisabeth wrote in her journal that April, “It was but a segment of the Journey which is Life, and called for obedience. Now, what have I to do? Obey. And my eyes will be opened for the next thing.” One of those “next” things happened to be returning to live among the tribe with her 10-month-old daughter. The tribe was changed by the Gospel. Where would they be if she had taken the easier path and returned to a safe, comfortable life in America?
Vaughn was given unprecedented access to Elisabeth’s personal journals, which contain the rich details only a natural author would provide. And there is so much more to her story! Vaughn is working on a second volume detailing Elisabeth’s later life experiences as a renowned author and global speaker. Her view through loss continues as her second husband dies and her own keen mental gifts fade with dementia before her death in 2015. Vaughn, herself an accomplished author, weaves a delightful yet realistic picture of purpose, joy and freedom that are ours when we realize God walks through suffering with us.
So, back to this idea of suffering. Are we willing to embrace it? It will be messy, guaranteed. But our big God loves us, and His purpose is salvation. We can be confident that God is in that next step, which is what the stories of these ladies so wonderfully show us.
How shall we suffer? For Christ! For the Gospel! With joy! And as our amazing Father leads!
Until all have heard,
Your Missions Committee
*Our church library has a copy of Hiding in the Light if you would like to check it out. Both books are easily available from multiple online retailers. Amazon sells Hiding in the Light for about $8 paperback and Becoming Elisabeth Elliot for about $19 (hardcover). Both are also available via Kindle or as audiobooks.