|courtesy Library of Congress|
|courtesy of Billy Graham Archives|
What could these two men have in common?
October, 1912, Teddy Roosevelt teetered in the arms of his staff outside a Milwaukee hotel, ready to give a campaign speech. An unemployed saloonkeeper shot Mr. Roosevelt in the chest only moments before.
January, 1956 Jim Elliot stood with four other men on a beach near the Waodani Indians village in Equador ready to share their faith in Jesus Christ. Jim Ellion, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Flemming, and Nate Saint were mortally wounded by the Waodani.
What happened next:
In most stories this would be the end but not for these two men.
Teddy Roosevelt approached his audience and opened his speech with different words than he planned: "Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know if you fully understand I have been shot." The crowd gasped as he unbutton his vest and revealed the bloodstained shirt. He leaned toward the microphone and softly said, "It takes more than that to kill a bull moose."
He reached in his pocket and pulled out a blood spattered paper marred by the bullet hole. "... I was going to make a long speech...but I will do my best." Roosevelt went on to give a ninety minute speech and lived to talk about the event.
Jim Elliot and the other four missionaries with him did not defend themselves during the Waodani attack. As each man fell to his death the others reached out to the Waodani, trying to show God's love, a forgiveness, a reason to stop and hear the Gospel news. They could have run for their guns, hidden back with their other supplies, but they didn't. Shooting their attackers, even in defense, would not demonstrate God's love. The five men died that day.
Teddy Roosevelt lived, he gained great sympathy and votes...yet in the end he lost the election.
Jim Elliot and the four other missionary friends died, but left a legacy which flourished. Rather than seek revenge against the Waodani tribe, other missionaries went back and shared God's message with them. Tribal members listened. They were amazed with the actions of Jim and the other missionaries during the attack. Because of the witness, many Waodani tribal members asked Jesus to be their Savior.
Had I stepped into Roosevelt's or Elliot's world and walked in their shoes I don't know that I would have responded as they did. Learning what they chose to do gives me strength to face my own tragedies with God's help. I respect the tenacity of both these men. They continued working toward the finish line despite tragedy. Both men reached their mark. But only the choice of Jim and the four missionaries with him resulted in eternal gain.
God promises to give strength to face challenges He knows we can endure.
Please share. How has God helped you?
I'll start. I am a three time cancer survivor, excited to see what work God has planned for me in my future days.