Would I be an Oak of Righteousness?

"A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit." -D. Elton Trueblood

When I read this quote, I was instantly reminded of walking along a path, under the "Oaks of Righteousness" at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

As we walked through the memorial we were just overwhelmed by the millions and millions of lives that were brutally snuffed out. We felt like vomiting & just wanted to somehow escape the reality of it.

But then we walked up to the mount of remembrance and couldn't help but notice a few rows of Oak trees that have been planted, each one of them with a little name tag- listing the name of a family who had rescued a Jew during the Holocaust. The majority of these were Christian families who laid their own lives on the line to protect a Jewish family. Yad Vashem wanted to honor these families and used the verse from Isaiah 61:3
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
This verse is on a big plaque in the ground at the start of the path that leads through these oak trees. Just as a person is feeling overwhelmed by the millions who were tortured & murdered, you can't help but feel a little overwhelmed by the few who stepped up.

You can't help but ask yourself "if I had been there at the time, what would I have done?"

I guess this is part of why we love Christians who step up & care for orphans. They practice true religion, providing shade from the harsh sun for these helpless children, so that the Lord may be glorified.

Here’s a quote from a Holocaust survivor, maybe not unlike what you might hear from an orphan or widow who has been rescued:
“I believe that it was really due to Lorenzo that I am alive today; and not so much for his material aid, as for his having constantly reminded me by his presence... that there still existed a just world outside our own, something and someone still pure and whole...  for which it was worth surviving.” -Primo Levi describes his rescuer, Lorenzo Perone
The Yad Vashem website has a great article that describes the situation "the righteous" would find themselves in, as they would see a Jew standing at their door and needed to make an instant decision. You can read it here.  

I really should be working on my schoolwork right now, but seeing the quote at the top of this post took me back to Israel & made me pause to consider how the decisions I make today could affect my kids, grandkids, & even persecuted people. I couldn't help but take a few minutes to journal my thoughts for the sake of my own kids, and pray that when God calls me to make an instant decision that appears risky, He'll give me the grace to make a righteous one.

"It is the righteous man who lives for the next generation." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

photo via Tom Hein

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