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What part of today are you most excited about?
Just 25 years old, the theology student walked with the pastor up the stairs toward the group of boys he was to study with.
“I just can’t get through to them,” the old pastor said. “They seem to take pleasure in persecuting me.”
Less than 14 years later, the youth minister would be dead. But today, it was only 1931, not 1945 when he would face the Nazi war machine - accused and hanged for plotting Hitler’s death. Today was just the training ground.
Deitrich tightened his tie as they reached the landing in front of the door to the classroom. There were boys, literally, hanging from the rafters. The others stood ready, with wadded paper and waiting insults.
The elderly pastor threw the door open and shouted, “This is your new Bible Study leader!” Then, turning to Bonhoeffer, he said, “Their all yours. I’m sorry!”
The door hadn’t even finished closing from their entrance before the pastor was headed down the stairs.
Deitrich, known today for his amazing practical theology and his written legacy ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ stood quietly with his hands in his pockets. Then he began to speak.
He didn’t raise his voice. He just began talking to the room of German boys about one of his experiences in New York. Only the boys in the front row could make out what he was saying. They angrily shushed the others.
Just a few moments after being warned about the sinful impossible rabble of these ruffians, he had them in the palm of his hand. “Listen now,” Dietrich said, “and next week, I will tell you another story about America.”
Telling stories of his travels and life experiences, young Bonhoeffer connected Bible stories and the teachings of the Word of God to the lives of these young men.
Young Deitrich knew what it was like to be a man trapped in a boys body. He had been where they sat. And he knew there was nothing more powerful than a story of greater places, bigger things and better times.
Jesus calls us to do the same. Tell our story. Connect it to His story. We’ve been where our listers are now. Jesus has been where we are - He has faced all that we have or will face.
The story of Jesus’ love, demonstrated in His willingness to die for us, gives us the confidence and assurance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer because, like him, we have Jesus.
The Desire of Ages, 24, 25