The literature around the Second World War is filled with interesting and poignant stories.
I came across the following account of a little event that took place in Denmark: a confrontation between King Christian X and an officer of the Nazi occupational forces.
In 1940, Germany invaded and occupied Denmark but initially left the Danish government a modest amount of authority to continue its functioning. The German military also allowed King Christian X to keep his body guard. One morning, while taking a ride through Copenhagen, the king saw a Nazi swastika flag flying over a public building. The king found that highly offensive. “Take it down,” he ordered the German officer in front of the building. “Orders from Berlin”, replied the officer. “Then I will send one of my solders to do it,” the monarch declared. “The soldier will be shot,” warned the Nazi officer. “Then I will be that soldier”, said the king, and forthwith he reached up and pulled down the swastika.
That, I thought, illustrated a point. Service is not always rewarded in this life. In fact, it may come at a price. Service can be risky. We cannot always pick and choose in the life of Christian service. Among the challenges the Lord also metes out difficulties and hardships. God’s servants must be prepared to accept risks, inconvenience and opposition. In all this, the Lord Jesus shows us the way. He did not object to being delegated to earth to suffer for sinners. Isaiah announced the coming Messiah as the Suffering Servant (chapters 42; 52; and 53; Matt. 12:18-21). Serving and suffering were woven into our Savior’s ministry.
Our spiritual quest is to model our lives after His. In serving Him, we will not shy away from inconvenience or even suffering.
I knew thee not, thou Son of God,
‘Till I with thee the path of suffering trod;
‘Till in the valley, through the gloom of night,
I walked with thee, and turned to thee for light.
I did not know the meaning of the cross;
I counted it but bitterness and loss;
‘Till in thy gracious discipline of pain
I found the loss I dreaded purest gain.
- George W. Briggs