A heart like Bonhoeffer's

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FINALLY FINISHED the 500-page biography by Eric Metaxas on German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

The final chapters are intense.

Bonhoeffer falls in love with a lady 15 years younger than him and decides to marry her. He is smitten, and his letters brim with hope that all will be well in the end. He joins the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler, but he is later found out. His friends in the conspiracy are imprisoned and shot. He is not exempt from all this. He spends months in jail at Tegel. There he finds time to write to his friend Bethge; their correspondence would reveal so much about the German pastor—his longings, thoughts, the content of his prayers. As the Americans close in on the Nazis he is brought to Buchenwald, where he witnesses human suffering, the kind we only read in books. It's a dark, dark world he inhabits, but Bonhoeffer looks to the Lord Jesus Christ, his source of strength and joy.

I read the final pages with tears flowing from my eyes. How embarrassing! (When was the last time this had happened to me? Ah, when I read Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor by DA Carson at the airport's pre-departure area!) I was glad nobody knew me at the restaurant where I was. I closed the book with a heavy heart, for I was convicted of so many things. Am I living to please my Lord and Master? Would I be willing to suffer for His sake when the time comes?

My prayer is that the Lord grant me the same heart as Bonhoeffer's, that which longs to sacrifice all for God. People who knew him in his last days said he was a prayerful man, and never had they seen someone so intimate with his God. He shared whatever he had with the other prisoners. He lived a truly Christian life, and he never wasted his life.

Eric Metaxas's biography on Bonhoeffer is one of the most beautiful, encouraging, convicting works of modern Christian literature I have read recently. And I praise God for the opportunity of having known His faithful servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer, if only through this book and his works I had read in the past.

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