Since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I’ve enjoyed stories and reading. I fell in love with history when I read my first novel, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” when I was 10. A true story which detailed a clear picture of the atrocities during World War II, I was enamored by real life stories of people facing insurmountable odds. I later heard of the story of Jim Elliot, an American Christian missionary, one of five people killed during Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador. In 1956, Elliot and his missionary team were speared to death by a large group of the Huaorani. After hearing this story, I was hooked … I loved the thought of stepping up and stepping out for what you believed in … faith in action.
It was many years before I learned of the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A German Lutheran pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident who was a key founding member of the Confessing Church, Bonhoeffer’s writings on the Christian’s role in the secular world have become widely influential. Apart from his many writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Adolf Hitler‘s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel Prison for one-and-a-half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenbürg concentration camp. Bonhoeffer was accused of being associated with the plot to assassinate Hitler and was tried along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office). He was hung on April 9, 1945, during the collapse of the Nazi regime.
The crux of Bonhoeffer’s story, however, lies in the fact that he left Germany to study and teach for many years, ultimately coming to the United States. He could have lived the rest of his life writing, teaching and preaching, in relative comfort. Then in 1938, he willingly returned to Germany to assist in the resistance to the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer knew what his fate would likely become if caught and arrested … a very real possibility. Yet, he willingly returned to Germany. That’s faith in action.
There are many, many other accounts of heroes stepping out in faith against incredible odds. I’ll let you do the research on Charles Spurgeon, William Booth, William Wilberforce, Corrie Ten Boom, Nic Vujicic, and Billy Graham, and oh so many more. They all have one thing in common … incredible faith.
Before closing, Jim Elliot’s story did not end with his death. His wife, Elisabeth, continued his work with the Huaorani people after his death. Two Huaorani women taught the Huao language to Mrs. Elliot and fellow missionary Rachel Saint. When Dayuma returned to the Huaorani, she created an opening for contact by the missionaries. In October 1958, Mrs. Elliot went to live with the Huaorani, translating the Holy Bible into their native language resulting in many conversions.
Now that’s faith in action!
Debby Efurd is co-founder of Cary John Efurd Ministries of Pittsburg, TX. She has been a contributor to Bound for Life and written numerous articles published in LifeNews, Christian Post and the Baptist Standard, and is the author of Go Tell It! Learn more about Cary John Efurd Ministries by liking our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CJEMinistries) and downloading our FREE mobile app (get.theapp.co) from App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, allow notifications to keep you up to date on what’s happening in Cary John Efurd Ministries. Debby can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to comment on her blog, The Second Mile, at www.debbyefurd.com .