Joshua 1:9b – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Trusting God’s Eternal Perspective
The Aucas were one of the most feared of all South American indigenous tribes. Their acts of brutality to outsiders were legendary. Not surprisingly, very few outsiders had dared to make contact with these fierce people. So, when Nate Saint and four other missionaries made the decision to follow God’s leading to reach out to the Aucas in 1956, they understood what their obedience might mean. Hardship was a given. Death was a distinct possibility. They were warned by others that venturing into the forbidden jungle territory that the Aucas called their own was foolhardy. But Saint and his fellow missionaries looked beyond the temporal toward eternity. In fact, one of Saint’s companions, Jim Elliot, had written these words years before as he contemplated his future as a missionary: “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” He and the others knew that the temporal fades with time. But how we invest the temporal gifts God gives us here on Earth follows us into eternity.
These men weren’t making the dangerous trek to win “points” with God. Their greatest hope was that they could share God’s gift of salvation with these “untouchable” people and that at least some would respond. If that meant death, Saint and the others were willing to offer themselves. Jesus once said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” These people weren’t even friends. But they were people for whom Christ died, and that alone constrained the missionaries to make the ultimate sacrifice if that’s what it took to share Christ’s love with them.
The missionaries’ first face-to-face encounter with the Aucas was on a riverbank. They radioed to their wives, who waited anxiously at the mission base, that they had left some simple gifts for the Aucas. That was their last contact with their wives. A few days later a search party found them along the river, brutally slain. Nate Saint was found with a lance wrapped in a Gospel tract piercing his body. But even in death, new life emerged. Eleven months after the missionaries’ deaths their wives, risking their own lives, made contact with their husbands’ murderers. Eventually, they developed a trust that led to a long-term, trusting relationship with the Aucas. With time, they translated the Scriptures into the Auca language and saw hundreds of Aucas come to Christ, including Nate Saint’s killer.
These men and their wives had an eternal perspective on life. And they rested in the assurance that God was leading them all the way. They knew that He had a greater purpose for them which transcended this life. Are you willing to ask God to give you a truly eternal perspective on your life?
II Timothy 3: 10-16 & 4: 1-8