Archive for the ‘courage’ Category

I never saw fear. What is it?

December 7, 2013

I never saw fear. What is it?

The young Horatio Nelson’s words to his grandmother.

divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities

December 8, 2009

…divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities.

Richard Baxter, describing how those ministers ejected from their minsitries in 1662 returned to their flocks during the plague of 1665. The ministers who had taken up the vacant posts had abandoned their flocks to seek refuge from the plague.

Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.246

Leopold Socha hid ten Jews from Lvov in the sewers under the city from the Nazis

November 17, 2009

Leopold Socha hid ten Jews from Lvov in the sewers under the city from the Nazis. When the German army retreated he called down to them and told them they were free.

Some months later, Socha was accidentally killed, run over by a truck in the streets of Lvov. ‘As he lay on the pavement with blood dripping…the Poles crossed themselves and said that it was God’s punishment for hiding Jews.

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, p.714

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In 1942, Wladyslaw Misiuna, a teenager from Poland, was recruited by the Germans to help inmates at the concentration camp start a rabbit farm to supply furs for soldiers at the Russian front

October 17, 2009

In 1942, Wladyslaw Misiuna, a teenager from Poland, was recruited by the Germans to help inmates at the concentration camp start a rabbit farm to supply furs for soldiers at the Russian front.  Misiuna felt responsible for the thirty young women he supervised.  He stuffed his coat pockets with bread, milk, carrots and potatoes and smuggled in food for them.

But one day, one of his workers, Deborah Salzberg, contracted a mysterious infection.  Misiuna was beside himself.  He knew if the Germans discovered the open lesions on her arms they would kill her.  He had to cure her, but how?  He took the simplest route.  He infected himself with her blood and when the lesions appeared, he went to a doctor in town.  The doctor prescribed a medication, which Misiuna then shared with Deborah Salzberg.  Both were cured and both survived the war.

Eva Fogelman, Conscience and Courage, p.70

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows.

Isaiah 53.4a

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet…

October 3, 2009

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet. The other trainees threw themselves to the ground, but Wang Jie flung himself forward and covered the grenade with his body just before it exploded. His chest was blown to bits, but his action saved his comrades and the young recruit was unharmed. In his diary he had written, ‘Soldiers armed with Mao-Tse Tung thought are all conquering. For the revolution I fear neither hardships nor death. We must regard Mao-Tse Tung thought as our food, our weapon and our steering wheel and always act according to Mao’s instructions in our daily life.

Gao Anhua, To the Edge of the Sky, p.121

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ

September 30, 2009

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

MARTIN LUTHER

I’d rather be with God against men, than with men against God

September 12, 2009

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was, in 1940, Consul General for Portugal in Bordeaux, France. He was a graduate of the University of Coimbra, a wealthy lawyer from an old aristocratic family and he had represented Portugal in diplomatic posts in Brazil, Zanzibar and the United States. Hitler’s Nazi forces had marched into Paris and a flood of humanity had departed for the south, hoping to leave France. Their destination was Bordeaux where a Portuguese visa could assure them passage through Spain into Portugal, which was nominally neutral; from there they could perhaps hope to obtain a passport or a visa to America. Salazar had ordered his embassies not to issue exit visas to Russians, Portuguese political exiles or any Jews.

Thousands of refugees reaching Bordeaux had found the Portuguese Consul General’s apartment and had congregated outside, hoping for visas de Sousa Mendes, with great compassion, decided to disobey the Salazar orders and he, with his two sons, wrote by hand some 30,000 visas in order to save as many refugees as possible from the Nazis. 10,000 of these refugees were Jews. He was quoted as saying, “I have to save these people, as many as I can. If I am disobeying orders I’d rather be with God against men, than with men against God.”

The result of this magnificent action was that he was recalled to Lisbon in disgrace, but on the way he stopped in Bayonne and wrote out more visas by hand, thus saving another thousand refugees. When he reached Lisbon he was fined and prohibited from practicing law. He was reduced to selling off all his personal possessions to procure food for his family. He died in 1954 penniless and still in disgrace.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes’ name has been honored by the United States Congress, the Government of Israel, and has been recently restored to a place of honor and respect by the President of Portugal, Mario Soares.

source

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5.29

The Price of Integrity

August 5, 2009

On 16 November 1938, a week after Kristallnacht, Pastor J. von Jan preached to his congregation in Swabia: ‘Houses of worship, sacred to others, have been burned down with impunity – men who have locally served our nation and conscientiously done their duty, have been thrown into concentration camps simply because they belong to a different race.  Our nations’ infamy is bound to bring about Divine punishment.’  Dragged out of his Bible class by a Nazi mob, Pastor Jan was brutally beaten, then thrown on to the roof of a shed.  The mob then smashed his vicarage, just as, a week earlier, so many Jewish houses had been smashed.  Pastor Jan was imprisoned”

Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1986, p.73

Courage – Mandela

August 5, 2009

It is from these comrades in the struggle that I learned the meaning of courage. Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their lives for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resiliency that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Long Walk to Freedom, 1995, p.749

Courage

August 5, 2009

Courage is not the absence of fear but the control of fear.

Dick Chapel, war (WWII) correspondent.