My grandfather was active in the Dutch resistance movement against Nazism and you can read more about him in my article “Prayers and Comfort in Sachsenhausen.”
But why should you? Stories like his are inspiring…but are they important? Why do we need to hear about men like Taeke van Popta and remember their stories?
We need to listen because these people and their stories are part of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds and encourages us. His is but one of the accounts of Dutch Christians who risked everything for the sake of others. Many men and women living in the Netherlands during the perilous times of World War II and the Nazi occupation did what was right to help Dutch Jews, despite the cost. For countless it meant terrible suffering and even death. They were ordinary people who did extraordinary things – but only because they had an extraordinary God. Strengthened by Scripture, song, and prayer, they withstood the powers of evil to obey the command to love their neighbors as themselves. Doubtless, they had times of despair, but remarkably one often reads about how thankful they were for God’s provision.
We do not know what we have yet to undergo as we await the return of our Savior. We, ourselves, may be persecuted, or we may witness the persecution of a segment of society which calls us to stand up for our neighbors.
That’s why we need to remember and never forget the faithful obedience of those who have gone before us and let the remembrance encourage us to stand up for God and our neighbor.
Rev. George van Popta is the Minister Emeritus for the Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church, and he blogs at VanPopta.ca. This article first appeared in the October 2016 issue.