May 28, 2012
A few years ago, in his Friday Evenings newsletter, Tom Barnard wrote: When Victor Frankl was arrested by the Nazis during World War II, he was stripped of everything of value that he owned. His only possession when he arrived at Auschwitz was a manuscript of a book he had been working on for a very long time. To preserve it from confiscation, Frankl had sewn it into the lining of his coat. When he was searched, his manuscript was found and taken from him. Later he wrote, “I found myself confronted with the question of whether, under such circumstances, my life was ultimately void of any meaning.”
In an effort to keep prisoners from accumulating anything worthwhile, the Germans routinely forced prisoners to give up their clothing. In return, they were issued clothing taken from other prisoners on their way to the gas chambers. On one such occasion, inside the garment issued to Frankl was a torn piece of paper—a portion of a page from a Hebrew prayer book. On it was part of the Jewish prayer—Shema Yisrael—“Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God.”
Later Frankl wrote, “How should I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?” From that experience Frankl concluded, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Why did God allow Frankl to be robbed of his precious manuscript? Why did God send to Frankl a prayer that been concealed by a prisoner on his way to the gas chamber? I believe God knew that what Frankl needed at that moment was prayer—not a manuscript.
Have you been frustrated because an opportunity you believed God was opening was suddenly jerked out of your hands and replaced by something less significant and meaningful? Could it be that what you need most is communication with the God who sets an agenda far higher than we could plan for ourselves. He is the God who gives you a why for life. As a result, you can bear almost any how.
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