Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
One of the most difficult questions of the twentieth century was: How could such a vast majority of German Christians turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? How was it possible for so many to say so little?
Some Christians did speak up, however, and many of them died. Best known among them was Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote several books of theology, including The Cost of Discipleship, a provocative title, considering the price he himself was to pay for his discipleship. Aware of Hitler’s policy toward the Jews, Bonhoeffer knew that all moral people everywhere should commit themselves to stopping the Nazi regime. So he decided to take part in a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. In his own mind Bonhoeffer weighed the personal evil of murder against the evil of Hitler’s murder of literally millions of people, and for Bonhoeffer, the answer was inescapable. But the plot was uncovered, Bonhoeffer was arrested, and he was executed only days before the war ended. The following prayer was written by Pastor Bonhoeffer in his cell as he awaited his execution by hanging.
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray,
and to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
but with you there is light;
I am lonely;
but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart,
but with you there is help;
I am restless,
but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness,
but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
but you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me so to live now
that I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
The following are Bonhoeffer’s final words, which beautifully express the certainty of his faith.
This is the end
but for me
It is the beginning
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:1-3 ESV
Open your Bible to Psalms 34 and declare the words in this chapter in prayer and praise to God no matter your current circumstances.
Specific Prayer Need
Every year VOMK distribute close to 30,000 Bibles to North Koreans in various ways – through the air, through the water and even hand-carried across the border. Just this month over 1,000 Bibles were sent to North Korea! Please pray that God would guide each Bible into the hands of a North Korean whose heart he has already prepared to receive his word. Please also pray for our Bible distribution in the coming months that the Lord would give wisdom to our teams that are faithfully giving his word to North Koreans.