If there’s one person who is an authority on the topic of suffering, it’s Elisabeth Elliot. In case you need a refresher on her story, she lost the life of her newlywed husband who was also the father of her young daughter. Her husband’s sole desire was to share with the Auca Indians the Gospel; they mistook him for a cannibal, so they speared him to death.
Fast-forward some years later, and Elisabeth works through her grief and remarries. Only, she becomes widowed yet again after losing her second husband to cancer.
The book Suffering Is Never for Nothing is actually not a book written by Elsiabeth Elliot, but rather messages compiled together from her speaking engagements that an editor wove together to create a book. Because of this, the book reads a little differently. I think some parts came off differently because it was originally intended as words for the ears and not the eyes. And on that note, I think it could have been edited a little better to smooth out some of the language issues that happen when transferred from audio to page. But yet, I also get the concern for wanting to adhere to authenticity. I just felt like the true message could have been conveyed with some slight editorial polishing.
My Favorite Part of Suffering Is Never for Nothing:
My personal favorite chapter was the one on gratitude. Sometimes it truly is difficult to have gratitude in the suffering. She mentioned how in the years she lived with the very Indians who speared her husband to death that although this tribe experienced great hardship, they never complained. The women had to carry fifty pounds on their backs. Stil, not a grumbling word escaped their mouths. And what’s more, these tribal people were not even Christians. Yet, they had a cheerful countenance and heart of gratitude. How convicting for us believers! Some people living in harsh third world countries have more cheer than we do as Christians who have a true reason to exude joy.
A Final Word on Suffering Is Never for Nothing:
Elisabeth Elliot’s resurgence of words found from old audio is a reminder of a woman who knew suffering well and is a woman we would be wise to listen to. The book reads like a sermon and is filled with illustrative stories to get her point across. For many who are familiar with her words, it will be more of a careful reminder. All in all, it was a helpful, short read.