Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Leadership (03/14/05)
TITLE: Counting the Cost
By Lisa Smith
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Please give Henri shelter for a few days. I urged him to bring you this letter, at great risk to himself. We are all being watched.
We received a message from Emil. He says that the gendarmes and their Vichy cohorts are coming for me soon. Perhaps this week. I am going to leave for a time, so you may not hear from me for awhile. Please pray for Claudette. She worries so, although she tries to hide it for my sake.
I confess to you, my cousin and spiritual brother, that which I say to no other: I am feeling some regrets over this course we have chosen. Not for myself - to face what God gives is the lot of every Christian. He has given me the work, and I will see it through. No, it is for the people that I fear. They are all in danger because of me. Two years ago I thought I counted the cost of our actions, but the payment is approaching, and weak that I am, I waver. I know now the agony of Gethsemane - “Father, may this cup pass.” Not for me, but for the village. For you, even, dear Gerard. I can’t bear to think of your children, and Luci. Please tell her I pray for you, and them, daily.
I must face it: some may die because of me. I have set them on this path. It was my preaching, my authority that persuaded them. God gave me the task, but I could not do it without them. So they followed where I led. I have rejoiced over the people’s willingness to risk so much for the sake of Abraham’s children. The rumors we hear from Germany - even if they are highly exaggerated, as some claim, only prove to us the rightness of our course.
I have led them, yes, but I know you would remind me that I in turn am led by God. Such conceit, you would say! You are but the messenger. We have all followed God. Gerard, this is true. But to be His instrument, for such a thing! I am a shepherd of the flock. Surely that means to protect, to lead away from danger, not march toward it? In protecting some, I risk others. This is the cross I bear. I fear it will crush me. The nights pass slowly, sometimes.
I must remember that God has protected us so far. He may yet see us through safely. How long can this war last? Surely He cannot allow this evil to continue for much longer. Always there are rumors of the Allies coming soon. One of these times it must be true! Pray, Gerard, pray. The Vichy and their Nazi masters cannot be allowed to win!
But how much longer can we hold out? The raids are increasing. Only yesterday they came again, to Marcel’s house. They found nothing, thank the Lord. We were warned in time. I got there just as they were leaving. The major threw around the usual threats.
And so I pray, and beg God that He would be merciful. Be careful, Gerard. I trust I will write again soon. In the meantime, Claudette will be in touch. Please forgive my weaknesses that are shown in this letter. A man must have someone with whom he can be honest, and God has given me you. Pray for me, that I would do what is required of me, and be faithful no matter what comes. Pray for the people, that God would protect them.
Your loving cousin,
Author’s note: this is dedicated to Pastor Andre Trocme, spiritual leader of the largely Protestant area surrounding the village of Le Chambon, France. In 1942 he persuaded his congregation to shelter Jewish refugees from the Vichy regime. From 1942-1945 a total of 5,000 were either sheltered there or passed through to safety across the border to Switzerland. Pastor Trocme was eventually arrested, but released after a few weeks. He went into hiding, but the people continued the work. His cousin, Daniel, was arrested and died in Majdanek concentration camp, in Poland.
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