Joseph Yoder was a very caring man. And a brave man. He had lived a full life, now being seventy-two years old, and he had few regrets. He and his wife Anna were together for 51 years until she passed away three months ago. Their seven children were blessings; every single one of them. Joseph met the Saviour years ago, both he and Anna being devout Jews, were finally convinced that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and had both believed on Him as their personal Lord and Saviour. That was nearly thirty years past and the joyous couple served Him together since that time. It was only because of Joseph’s sure faith in his God that he would even consider the task at hand.
Having been taken prisoner by Hitler’s Nazi Party, the aged man was presently part of a labor force at the dreaded death camp known as Auschwitz. The Hebrew people were being killed in large numbers and Joseph was willing to accept the fact that he may soon pass from this life and be with his Anna. But he had the key to saving hundreds of lives in his possession. No, not a literal key, but actually an address of an important contact; a German citizen who had the ability, the willingness and the courage, to hide nearly three hundred Jews from the Nazi’s. Joseph was captured only hours before he was to deliver the information to another contact, the person who was going to organize the Jews and bring them safely to the brave German ally. Two days ago however, he found a note scribbled on a piece of paper and left under his ragged sheet in his cell. It read, “J.S.-Leave contact information by large rock that is a third of the way up north side of cliff. Rock is largest on mountain, about five feet in diameter. Bury two inches deep and cover with small tree branch. Must be left by this Saturday evening or will be too late. May God be with you my friend. W.B.” Today was Saturday and Joseph had been trying desperately to find someone to attempt to deliver the information, but conversation was minimal as the punishment for speaking was quite severe. Now here was Joseph Yoder, a meek and frail man too old to be dodging bullets and climbing mountains. But there were too many lives at stake! It was now five o’clock and time was running out! Praying silently, the tired man looked up. The Lord must help him, there was no other way. To make it ten feet without being seen would be an amazing feat, but to climb the mountainside and make it to the rock would be a genuine miracle from God. It would have to be a divine work or all would be lost!
The burly guard named Peter held his rifle. He was cruel as were all of the Nazi’s that Joseph had come into contact with. But no matter. When the guard turned, the old Jewish man, believing that the Lord was providing this opportunity, dropped his work tool and took off running with all of his might!
There were many long seconds before any of the uniformed man saw him. Joseph was praying and hoping that they might consider his age and not just shoot him. Not to mention, they probably saw the frivolity of what they thought was an escape attempt by a man who had nowhere to go. Peter saw him and Joseph turned to see his pursuer. Asking the Lord for strength every step, the devout believer used every ounce of energy in his body to pull himself over shrubs, rocks and other obstacles, as well as make it up the cliff. Up he went! And so also his adversary! Breathing heavy, Joseph heard something and glanced down in enough time to see Peter drop his weapon. Almost there, the old man made it to the flat section of the cliff.
The rock was only twenty feet away now. And the determined guard was getting closer. Hobbling along and nearly falling several times, Joseph dropped to his knees at the foot of the rock. Quickly he put his arthritic fingers into the soil. Within seconds he had succeeded! It was buried! He spied a small branch and placed it directly over the area that concealed the precious information.
Peter was there less than a minute later, pistol in hand. “Get up fool” he said and as Joseph struggled to stand, the guard also commanded, Now start walking!” Slowly, the aged prisoner looked into the face of his foe. As he obeyed, Joseph. Though having difficulty in walking down the cliff, was smiling! The Lord had been with him. Yes, the Lord was surely at work today!
You see friend, it is all in the perspective that you take. Some men are heroes and yet are fools, others are fools and yet heroes.