Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Grief’s “Good Side” and Two Announcements

By on October 2, 2015

With less than three months since my sweet Jeannie’s graduation to Glory, I must admit that I am still processing the grief that has accompanied her passing. I’m discovering that, while our western culture doesn’t “do grief” very well, the Lord’s Word has plenty to say about it. That, plus the prayers and encouragement of so many friends, has brought such an incredible comfort to my heart.

Lately, while beginning to “go on” with a more normal and structured life, I have found myself coming to grips with the reality that healing is God’s business. Of course, we must aggressively cooperate with His plans. But the fact is that, “HE heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3) and “HE restores my soul” (Ps 23:3). Knowing this is one thing; experiencing it is another. And I am experiencing it!

So there really is a good side to grief! Along the pathway of mourning, the Lord becomes so incredibly real to His children…and so very close! Rather than abandonment there is instead a needed and refreshing intimacy with Christ rising out of the ashes of our grief. Each day brings the conscious reality that God is at work in your heart, not by blotting out wonderful memories, but replacing the sorrow of absence with a fresh awareness of presence…His presence! 

I want to share two announcements that have brought real joy to my soul. 

First, thanks to a generous contributor through a church located in one of the poorest cities in America, the Jeannie Elliff Memorial Fund has been established with the International Mission Board. The fund is specifically allocated through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to facilitate the training and sending of missionaries through the Macedonian Project, an incredibly effective tool for fulfilling the Great Commission. You can give through your local church, or make your tax deductible gift directly to IMB. If giving to IMB, use either their website (IMB.org) or the IMB  mailing address, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA, 23230-0767. Be sure to indicate that the gift, whether through your church or to IMB, is specifically marked Jeannie Elliff Memorial Fund. We are now heading toward the $200,000 mark, so your gift is definitely appreciated.

Second, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her team at Revive Our Hearts, aired a two-part special tribute to Jeannie, October 1-2. You can stream the program, Jeannie Elliff: Faithful to the Finish, any time at ReviveOurHearts.com/radio . I hope you will take the time to listen. And pray that Jeannie’s testimony will encourage many others to trust in our Lord.

Rejoicing in the Lord!

Tom Elliff

2 Timothy 1:12

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  • DebMills

    Tom, we are so glad to hear of your testimony of God’s tender presence in these days of your life. And so glad for the announcements. I listened to the broadcasts…that was the most beautiful memorial service I’ve ever been heard/seen. Wow! God be praised for the gift of Jeannie. Hope we see you soon. His peace. Debbie & Dave

  • Annette E Turner

    Amen! Nothing we experience on this earth casts us on our Lord and brings us into deeper intimacy with Him more greatly than grief. SO GRATEUFL you are experiencing His incredible presence AND peace and you and Jeannie lived with no regrets. So many who face grief do so with business left unfinished and a life filled with regret. Thus the powerful testimony of a life lived well. YET OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL. That is the message on which we ALL can rest. Not to us, but to Thy Name be the glory! Rejoicing with you for all HE HAS DONE! I dreamed about Jeannie the other day. 🙂 After our visit she turned a led a processional around the throne singing Glory to God in the Highest. It was beautiful. She was as beautiful as ever. So grateful that ONE DAY we will be there, no more tears, no more pain!