As an avid reader, I occasionally run across some gems. On June 23rd, 2015, I was delighted to open the book “A Good Place To Hide” and read of a sermon given exactly 75 years ago, on 23 June 1940—and what a sermon it was! Boy, can we ever relate to it today. This is so powerful:
On 22 June 1940 an Armistice was signed by Hitler and Marshal Petain of France. Not everyone agreed with the terms of this Armistice, including Andre’ Trocme’, who, on the day following the signing of the Armistice, gave this rousing sermon to his congregation in France:
“The duty of Christians is to resist the violence directed at our consciences with the weapons of the spirit. We appeal to all our brothers in Christ to refuse to agree with or cooperate in violence…
To love, to forgive, to show kindness to our enemies, that is our duty. But we must do our duty without conceding defeat, without servility, without cowardice. We will resist when our enemies demand that we act in ways that go against the teaching of the Gospel. We will resist without fear, without pride, and without hatred.
But this moral resistance is not possible without a clean break from the selfishness that, for a long time, has ruled our lives. We face a period of suffering, perhaps even shortages of food. We have all more or less worshipped Mammon; we have all basked in the selfish comforts of our close family, in easy pleasures… We will now be made to do without many things.
We will be tempted to play our own selfish game, to cling not to what we have, to be better off than our brothers. Let us abandon, brothers and sisters, our pride and our egotism, our love of money and our faith in material possessions, and learn to trust God in Heaven, both today and tomorrow, to bring us our daily bread, and to share that bread with our brothers and sisters.”
A woman named Catherine, who attended the church service that Sunday morning recounted her memory of that occasion more that 70 years later:
In the church you could have heard a pin drop. I was only fifteen, yet I clearly remember my mood going from lost and frightened to safe and calm. Can you imagine what a sermon like that meant to us at a time of fear and despair? To be told, in church, that if the military situation had changed, our source of inspiration had not: it was still to follow in the steps of Jesus and the New Testament. We were not lost. We still had a direction. The day remains one of the most illuminating of my life…
(Source) A Good Place to Hide: How one French community saved thousands of lives during World War II by Peter Grose
I don’t know about you, but for me trusting in God is more easily said than done. Trusting in God with all my heart is an easy thing to commit to when things are going well. It’s when things start heading south that I begin to panic, my trust for God evaporating into thin air like the steam from a pot of boiling water. That’s right—when the trials hit I am more prone to fussing and being fearful than I am to trusting in God.
Then, without fail, as time passes and I look back on the trial I endured, I realize that God’s hand was in it and that I should have trusted Him all along.
“Why is it so hard for me to trust?” The question lingers in my mind before I commit, yet again, to being trusting “next time around”.
Well, “next time around” has arrived, and in a BIG way. My current trial far exceeds any previous trial I’ve experienced, but I’m determined to maintain my trust in God. Yes, there have been times I’ve fussed and feared—I am still human after all—but my trust in God is my anchor that is keeping me from wandering too far from the God who knows my beginning and my end. He knows how this story—my great trial—will end, so I will trust in Him.
Like Catherine during WWII, “I know [all is] not lost. [I] still [have] a direction.”
In what ways have you overcome fear with faith?
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear. (1 John 4:18)
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