Peace and Freedom
Late one afternoon, Lesli, Jon, and I made our way to the Warsaw Ghetto, into which 400,000 Jews were shoe-horned by the Gestapo. Completely razed after the war, the Ghetto was never rebuilt. Still standing, however, are a couple segments of the three-meter-high wall, in the presence of which our hearts were deeply moved. We stood in silence at a spot where hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to eke out their final days. At night, Jewish children were hoisted by their parents to the top of the wall, in order to jump over to the other side to scavange free zones of the city for food, bringing back morsels of subsistence before daybreak to feed their famished families – vainly prolonging survival for the inevitable trek by train to the nightmare of Treblinka.
Such inhumanity, and yet the work humans. We . . . need a Savior.
‘Come here you free citizen of the world, whose life is safeguarded by human morality and whose existence is guaranteed through law. I want to tell you how modern criminals and despicable murders have trampled the morality of life and nullified the postulates of human existence’ (the words of Zalman Gradowski, a Polish Jew murdered in the revolt in 1945, one of more than 3 million Polish Jews exterminated by fascist Germany in World War II).
One of the finest, and most disturbing, museums I’ve ever seen is the ‘Warsaw Uprising Museum’. As mentioned in an earlier post, much of the story told in this museum was forbidden information in the Cold War. Soviet Russians wanted to reserve for themselves entire credit for liberating Poland from fascism, and also to hide the fact that they, Russians, had at war’s end shipped off to Siberia every Polish resistance fighter.
The most poignant room of the museum is the cinematic room, which features a movie of a flyover of Warsaw immediately after the war. The film was spliced together digitally from thousands of postwar photographs and reveals a hellish pile of rubble where once stood a proud city of 1.3 million people. There are just enough crude imprints of buildings to make out sectors of the city – Old Town, New Town, the Warsaw Ghetto. To behold such total devastation caused us to be overcome by emotion. After the three minute movie, we sat motionless, a reaction shared by viewers around us. The cinema-room attendant had to ask us to rise and make room for the people awaiting the next showing.
I see now, more than ever, why the apostle Paul implores us to ‘make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings . . . for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way’ (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Do we, in our prayers, fulfill this admonition. We must – because war ravages humanity, destroys generations, subverts Christianity.
Praise God for the peaceful and quiet lives we have been able to live in America during most of our 240 years. Praise God that not many of our sons and daughters have been sacrificed to battlefields. But praise God for those who have. Our freedoms have been preserved by their sacrifice. Freedom may be free, but it is not cheap. Evil men, such as Hitler and Stalin, make sure of it. Freedom is the gift of a good God, paid for by the blood of good soldiers, the children of our homes and land.
Read more posts from this series:
- Tokens of Love and Gratitude to Christ | Part 1
- Tokens of Love | Part 2: History of Poland
- Tokens of Love | Part 3: Through Our Suffering, God Can Work Mightily
- Tokens of Love | Part 4: Freedom in Jesus Christ
- Tokens of Love | Part 5: Poland’s Favorite Sons
- Tokens of Love | Part 7: Assurance of Eternal Life
- Tokens of Love | Part 8: Exploring Krakow
- Tokens of Love | Part 9: From Artistry to Depravity
- Tokens of Love | Part 10: The World Slowly Being Transformed into a Wilderness
- Tokens of Love | Part 11: New Life in Christ
- Tokens of Love | Part 12: Reaching the Gypsies
- Tokens of Love | Part 13: Grieving the Empty Seats
- Tokens of Love | Part 14: The Greatest Work of All
- Tokens of Love | Part 15: The Kingdom Plans of the Lord
- Tokens of Love | Part 16: Until We Dance at the Foot of God’s Throne
- Tokens of Love | Part 17: Fullness of Life