Dietrich Bonhoeffer: In These Turbulent Times
In Jesus God has said Yes and Amen to it all, and that Yes and Amen is the firm ground on which we stand.
In this letter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer1 encourages his friend Eberhard Bethge to stay focused on Jesus, who is the only source of true meaning in life, even during turbulent times.
August 21, 1944
If we are to learn what God promises, and what he fulfills, we must persevere in quiet meditation on the life, sayings, deeds, sufferings, and death of Jesus.
It is certain that we may always live close to God and in the light of his presence, and that such living is an entirely new life for us; that nothing is then impossible for us, because all things are possible with God; that no earthly power can touch us without his will, and that danger and distress can only drive us closer to him.
It is certain that we can claim nothing for ourselves, and may yet pray for everything; it is certain that our joy is hidden in suffering, and our life on earth; it is certain that in all this we are in a fellowship that sustains us. In Jesus God has said Yes and Amen to it all, and that Yes and Amen is the firm ground on which we stand.
In these turbulent times we repeatedly lose sight of what really makes life worth living. We think that, because this or that person is living, it makes sense for us to live too.
But the truth is that if this earth was good enough for the man Jesus Christ, if such a man as Jesus lived, then, and only then, has life a meaning for us. If Jesus had not lived, then our life would be meaningless, in spite of all the other people whom we know and honour and love.2
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4 February 1906 - 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founder of the Confessing Church. In addition to his theological writings, he was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi regime and his execution by the Gestapo. He was involved in plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler and was arrested in April 1943. He was eventually hanged in April 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters & Papers from Prison, edited by Eberhard Bethge, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1972.