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A Time of Waiting

I have been racing, and yet not so quickly as that, through my book on Bonhoeffer. I have to set it aside at times, after reading about some of what was going on at the time. Even Metaxas' carefully worded accounts of the atrocities cannot hide the horror of what happened. 

I hurriedly closed the book after marking my page at the end of this last chapter, "Bonhoeffer in Love." The following one is "Killing Adolf Hitler." Bonhoeffer has unexpectedly met a young woman and fallen in love with her, in almost the blink of an eye. In a letter to this woman, Maria, after she has told him that her answer will be yes to the question he has for her, he writes so joyfully and so hopefully. He looks toward the future, as he encouraged another friend to do upon hearing of his (the friend's) engagement: "this self-assured glimpse into the future and the confidence that there is a reason to look forward to the next day or the next year, the joyful grasping hold of happiness where God still gives it to us." 

He writes to Maria: "I want to care for you and allow the dawning joy of our life to make you light and happy." In response to her concern regarding the possibility that he has (from her letter to him) "a false picture of me," and her statement,"It makes me unhappy to think that you could love me for what I'm not," he assures her,"I want no 'image,' I want you, just as I beg you with my whole heart to want not an image of me but me myself; and you must know those are two different things. But let us not dwell now on the bad that lurks and has power in every person, but let us encounter each other in great, free forgiveness and love..." 

This is just the thing that Keller is reminding us of in The Meaning of Marriage. That person we marry is not, in the end, the person we will be married to in even a week (or a day!) after the ceremony! Marriage changes a person, and immediately. And yet when we commit ourselves to our spouses, one of the fundamental promises that we are making is to help the other to grow in Christ's likeness. We are not "to dwell now on the bad that lurks and has power in every person, but let us encounter each other in great, free forgiveness and love!" Decades may separate the two men, but their minds are quite in step on this point! 

I could not help but cry, blinding hot tears which blurred the words on the page, knowing how his story ends. But even so, what joy he was able to have for a time! What a gift, during such a difficult, lonely, and uncertain period, even though he was firmly confident about the path he was taking. 

Even now, I am so sad. But I am determined not to remain so. There are many reasons to look to joy. The foremost one is that Sunday is coming...

Reader Comments (1)

I printed this out and had Sweetman read it with me. This was the most powerful post, Christina. Jeepers crow! Good, hard, challenging, encouraging, stuff.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissy

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