If you are looking for something uplifting to watch with your family while you are stuck at home, you might try to find End of the Spear. Although it’s a low-budget movie from 2005, the story is one you cannot make up. It is based on events which took place in 1956, when 5 missionaries were speared to death by a group of Waodani tribesmen in Ecuador. Nate Saint and Jim Elliot were two of the men killed trying to make contact with this isolated group of people. The movie chronicles the incredible circumstances that lead to a life-long bond between Nate’s son Steve, and Mincayani, one of the tribesmen who killed his father. Jim Elliot’s remarkable widow, Elizabeth Elliot, published a compilation of her husband’s memoirs in a book called Shadow of the Almighty. Here are two of my favorite pearls of wisdom from the book, which I think are relevant to our current situation:
“Remember that the shadow a thing casts often far exceeds the size of the thing itself (especially if the light be low on the horizon) and though some future fear may strut brave darkness as you approach, the thing itself will be but a speck when seen from beyond. Oh that He would restore us often with that ‘aspect from beyond,’ to see a thing as He sees it.”
― Jim Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty
As we cancel our plane reservations, slow the pace of our too frantic schedules, re-introduce ourselves to our families, turn on the neglected oven and take stock of our lives, it may be useful to remember another of Jim Elliot’s sayings:
“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956)
We mustn’t focus on the places we are NOT. Be fully present where you ARE – it is, apparently, where you were meant to be. And don’t focus on the looming shadow of the thing we face. It is intimidating because right now, the light is low on the horizon. Like many catastrophic life events, how this story ends will not be determined so much by the circumstances themselves, but how we decide to react to them.