We live in Germany these days – certainly a treat with many adventures and beautiful scenery! Truly blessed.
Since being here, I have begun to go back in history a bit. Not thousands of years necessarily, but a bit more recent. I have read stories of atrocity, fear, and anguish mixed with stories of courage, hope, and love beyond what I could imagine. I am in a place where some amazing history has played out from the reformation to World War II. I have gotten an upfront look at people that lived and even died for values and beliefs they could not compromise.
This year here in Germany they celebrate 500 years since the Reformation, started by Martin Luther. Coming to understand that “the righteous live by faith” (Romans 1:17), Luther saw the challenges of the church in that time, the inaccessibility of Scripture to regular folks, the idea of salvation based on works, and a righteous God always ready to punish. Reading and studying for himself, he saw the love and grace of that same God and the righteousness of Christ which covers us.
In recognition of this, Luther wrote down his 95 theses and nailed them to the door, intending to bring debate to the church, but instead leading to his excommunication from the church. He became a wanted man, but he did not back down. Regardless of personal thoughts on all of Luther’s ideas and writings, his boldness in what he came to understand in Scripture impacted the history of the Church, even to translating the Scripture to German for regular people to read and study for themselves.
Courage and boldness – would I be willing?
Am I willing?
In addition to Martin Luther, I have been reading much more about World War I and II history. We could certainly debate the good, the bad, and the ugly of both wars as well the battles and military strategy, but what has intrigued me most is the stories of people. Ordinary, regular people just like me.
They were farm wives, housewives, professors, military wives, business women, school girls, moms. Regular people, just like me, yet they did extraordinary things. From hiding people in their homes to choosing a child to send to a foreign land for safety, these women did the extraordinary. They provided illegal rations cards and physically protected others, sometimes at the cost of their livelihood or even their lives. (Just to note, many men did the same, but I do relate most to the women.)
Knowing what the consequences could be, they chose to do right, to do what was best not just what was good. Walking courageously into unknown territory, literally and figuratively, they fought in their own way for the values and beliefs they could not compromise. I am amazed not only by what they did but also by the price they were willing to pay. They CHOSE to do these things. Whether they had to make a spur of the moment decision or had time to contemplate, they CHOSE to courageously do what they believed was right.
As I’ve read stories of these people, I have come across those who chose differently as well, who chose to do the easy wrong instead of the hard right. Truth be told, I can’t really blame them. I mean the consequences could be serious both for them and their families.
Which brings me to the same question – would I be willing?
AM I willing?
Am I willing to risk my life to do what is right? Am I willing to face severe consequences in order to save another? Am I willing to stand by my beliefs no matter what the cost?
Am I willing?
It’s been the question in my mind for weeks.
Scripture gives us examples as well. I think of Rahab who took a risk. Paul went back to Jerusalem even though his friends warned him not to. The famous folks like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or Abraham and Isaac — all stories of biblical folks who did the hard right instead of the easy wrong, all of them with a happy ending.
Then we read through Hebrews 11 and see that doing the right thing didn’t always turn out like roses this side of heaven. Sometimes the Christian life is hard, and the abundant life we long for isn’t exactly what we planned.
But I would submit to you that it is worth it.
God calls us to obedience – all in obedience – regardless of results, responses, or reactions. So I’ll ask you the same question I have asked myself for weeks now – would you be willing?
Are we willing to do the right thing? Are we willing to be obedient regardless of cost? Are we willing to do what is best instead of just what is good?