What Can Man Do?
The young man who wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,” did so unknowingly, yet prophetically, about his own life. As a 22-year-old college student, Jim Elliot already sensed a deep call from God to spend his life on the mission field. Just seven years later, his words would find fulfillment on a sandy beach in Ecuador.
Elliot and four other young missionaries journeyed deep into the rain forest of Ecuador to make contact with a Stone Age tribe of Indians, now known as the Aucas. With no fear, they landed their single-engine plane on the sandy beach of the Curaray River and set up camp. After days of flying over the Auca’s territory and dropping gifts to them, contact was made when three Indians visited them on the beach. Thinking that their long prayed-for mission was beginning, they rejoiced when another group of Indians returned a few days later. But that day, all five of the young missionary men gave up what they could not keep to give what they could not lose.
Why were five young missionaries not afraid at the thought of losing their lives in service to Christ? Because of the truth of Psalm 118:6—“The Lord is with me... What can man do to me?” They knew that the worst thing that could happen to them—death by Auca spears—was the very thing that would usher them into the glory that would be theirs for eternity with Christ. The hymn the men sang together as they waited for the Indians’ arrival that fateful day echoed what they believed: “When passing through the gates of pearly splendor, Victors, we rest with Thee through endless days.”
When we live in fear, we live believing that God is unable to protect us or defend us. We try to keep what we cannot keep, and in so doing lose sight of what we cannot lose. The next time you are fearful, ask yourself: What can man (or Satan, or my emotions, or my enemies, or life’s circumstances) do to me? When you remember that the Lord is with you, you will not be afraid.
God’s Promise to You: “No one can harm you when I am with you.”
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