Friday, October 25, 2013

A Lesson from Three Guys Who Have Never Been in my Kitchen

"that righteous man, dwelling among them"
2 Peter 2:8

Okay, I'm gonna go out on a bit of a limb here, but if you stick with me, I think the point will be worth it.  At least, it was to me.

Abraham's nephew Lot
Alex Nsengimana
Erwin Rommel

What do these three men have in common?  Other than the fact that none of them have ever been in my kitchen?

Well, what they have in common is bad.  Bad situations, evil men, and the world around them seeming without hope.

Lot, as you probably know, was the last one out of Sodom before God unleashed shock and awe.  Or as it used to be termed, fire and brimstone.  Sodom was an evil place, as we see in Genesis 18 and 19.  Not even ten righteous men could be found.  Bad.  But in the midst of that was Lot.  2 Peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was righteous, and oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked.

Alex Nsengimana you've probably never heard of.  I read about him in an update from Franklin Graham's organization, "Samaritan's Purse".  Nsengimana is Rwandan, and in 1994 he watched his grandmother and uncle die in the Rwandan genocide.  He was raised in an orphanage.   Today he has a degree in pastoral counseling, and is taking steps to plant a church in Rwanda.  He grew up a victim of evil, but has chosen a life of light.

Now at this point, you might be thinking, "Erwin Rommel??"  I know it might seem odd to include one of Hitler's generals in a piece about good men and bad situations.  But hear me out.

Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was a German Field Marshal in World War II. He was a very successful general, and as he was working for Adolf Hitler, that's not a good thing. 

But Rommel was respected even by his enemies, was never accused of war crimes, and treated captured soldiers humanely.  He ignored orders to kill Jewish soldiers and civilians.  In a 1941 article in a Nazi newspaper, it was reported that he was a member of the Nazi party.  Rommel insisted on a retraction.

And he was discerning enough to know that the end was coming, long before it did.  In November of 1943, Rommel told his associate, Hans Von Luck, that the war was lost.  And in October of 1944 he was forced to commit suicide after conspiring to overthrow Hitler.

War is an ugly thing.  Death and pain and fear and misery on all sides.  And the best thing you can say about any soldier who acts with honor, is that he believed he was doing the right thing when he did his job.  I have no idea if Rommel's life would allow him to be received in heaven, but I do know that when I read about him, I was reminded that there is good in bad things, and that there are good people in bad situations. 

No hopeless situation is truly hopeless.  God is on His throne.  It's true that every cloud has a silver lining ~ {at least it's metaphorically true.  I don't know if it's meteorologically true.}  And it's equally true that in every dark place, there is light to be found.

If you're in a dark place, and you can't see the light, keep looking.  He is there with you.  And if you keep looking and can't see the light, find a mirror.  Perhaps the light He has put in the dark place is you.

~ "The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land
of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined." ~
Isaiah 9:2

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