During the rise and crowning of Adolf Hitler, many prescient Christians, with others, understood how desperate the situation was. Most of Germany either was blind or kept very quiet about what was the bloodiest time in the history of Western Civilization. Among those who understood was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran Pastor/teacher.
In the early days of Hitler’s maniacal rampages Bonhoeffer said:
“We shall have to move through a very deep valley; I believe much deeper than we can sense now before we will be able to ascend the other side again.”
Many, if not most people are unwilling to descend into the valley, with all its pain and unknown griefs, to get the chance to scale the heights of victory. Dietrich Bonhoeffer served God with honor while in the depths of Europe’s darkest valley.
The forces of Hitler arrested Bonhoeffer, and while he spent time in prison, he was the unofficial voice of Christ in prison at Tegal. While there he so impressed Nazi Guards that they permitted him to minister to other prisoners. One of the guards noted:
“Although he was an enemy of the Nazi state, he is genuinely kind and generous, quite shockingly so, for many of them. He was a genuinely good man, a living rebuke to the forces that oppressed them and over which they had little power.”
I put the quote marks and the italics for the simple reason that many Christians have forgotten the primary tool in witnessing; the power of emulating the lifestyle of Jesus Christ!
Concerning Bonhoeffer's time at Buchenwald, Payne Best wrote: “His soul shone in the dark desperation of our prison. He had always been afraid that he would not be strong enough to stand such a test that now he knew there was nothing in the life of which one need ever be afraid.”
A few days before the end of the war in the European Theater, Bonhoeffer was hanged in prison at Flossenburg on April 9, 1945, at Dawn. The war ended on May 7, 1945.
The doctor who witnessed the hanging said, “In the almost fifty years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God!”
As we Americans face some possibly very hard times, may cease looking to Politicians to “save” us, and turn our eyes hearts toward Jesus Christ who has promised that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we must fear no evil.
Copyright © 2018 Larry Lilly
Quotes are from Bonhoeffer, by Eric Metaxas. A great book.
Good IT work. Oral Deckard