Weapons of the Spirit
Let us consider the persecutions of believers in the past, or in the coming Great Tribulation. Usually, we ponder only the ones being persecuted. Faith, trusting God for deliverance from evil, is what we need to face our trials. But, one of the most inspiring lessons of faith comes from another aspect: those who protected the persecuted. It is the story of the villagers of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, who, during World War II, bravely sheltered 5,000 Jews, to keep these refugees from being deported to Nazi death camps. These Christian rescuers, nestled on a rural plateau in south-central France, were themselves descended from persecuted French Huguenots. They did not need to fear the Nazi occupation of France, nor the French Vichy government collaborators. As Jews fled into France from Germany and Eastern Europe, the citizens of Le Chambon did not have to take them in, and thus risk severe punishment from the Nazis. Throughout France, some 75,000 Jews were deported to face extermination in concentration camps. Many of these were turned over to the Germans by co-operating French police. In Le Chambon, it was different. Ordinary people, often poverty-stricken themselves, protected Jews, at their own peril. They took Jews into their homes and fed and protected them, right under the noses of the Gestapo. Defying the Nazis and the French government that was collaborating with the Nazis, the villagers of the area of Le Chambon provided a safe haven throughout the war for whoever knocked on their door.
Pierre Sauvage, a Jew who was born to his hiding parents in Le Chambon, has prepared an outstanding documentary VHS video, Weapons of the Spirit. It has many lessons for us all. “The responsibility of Christians,” their pastor, André Trocmé, had reminded them the day after France surrendered to Nazi Germany, “is to resist the violence that will be brought to bear on their consciences through the weapons of the spirit.” Did the villagers worry about the danger to them for harboring Jews? No, says Sauvage, “People who agonize don’t act. Le Chambon just did the right thing.” It was a natural result of their deeply-rooted religious faith. Le Chambon received strength from what they were. They connected with their spiritual heritage; they were like strong trees with deep roots. The people recounting their stories to Sauvage were not being modest in denying they were heroic. They truly believed they were normal folk. The memory of their past (horrendous persecutions of the Huguenots for hundreds of years), was the key to their survival. Ordinary people, empowered by the Spirit, can do great things, Daniel 11:32.
How could 5,000 people protect 5,000 Jews, in spite of Vichy collaborators and Nazis in their midst? Was it due to their pastor, who was a great leader? No, their society produced a great leader, not the other way around. Was it efficient organization? No. The widow of the assistant pastor says, “If we would have had an organization, we would have failed!” Taking in the hungry, poor, desperate, refugees was spontaneous. Nobody asked questions, such as, “Are you a Jew?” They all worked together, as if guided by an unseen hand. Weapons of the Spirit are far more powerful than carnal weapons, II Corinthians 10:3-5.
And so it is today, people of God are ordinary folk, like those of Le Chambon. God is moving them to do a great work of rescuing this world from sin and darkness. They naturally respond to His direction. They have, and use, “Weapons of the Spirit.”
You may wish to order a copy of the VHS NTSC video, Weapons of the Spirit, for $39.95, by contacting: Friends of Le Chambon, 8033 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 800-223-1945.