Our nation has drifted from Scripture. America is a morass of confusion about the meaning and value of life. What might it cost us?
This is the first of several journal entries related to Bill’s recent trip to Europe. This mini-series will introduce an incredible opportunity for spiritual growth in 2024. And it will lead to an invitation in a couple of weeks to “Join the Journey.” We also hope to raise funds to provide tools for engaging in God’s Word to those who cannot afford it.
I arrived home two nights ago from a trek over the Pyrenean Mountain Chain, Le Chemin de la Liberté, meaning “The Journey to Freedom.” It was one of a number of treks over the Pyrenees that escapees from World War II followed into Spain to flee the Nazi occupation in France. The hike was challenging. The meaning behind it even more-so. It was all a stark reminder to the world of what may happen when people stop reading God’s Word: they forget God. And when we forget God, life in this world quickly becomes a living hell.
As we drove through France toward the mountains that form her southern boarder, we paused to visit the remains of a small town, Oradour-sur-Glane. This quiet village became the site of an horrific massacre on June 10, 1944, four days after D-Day. For reasons still not fully understood by historians, 643 civilians, including non-combatant men, women, and children, were murdered and the village destroyed by a German Waffen-SS company. Unlike other massacres, the Germans tried to keep this incident under wraps.
Historians suppose this atrocity was punishment against resistance forces that kidnapped and executed a highly decorated commander in 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich. There is an interesting twist on the theme, promoted by the book, Oradour: Massacre and Aftermath by Robin Macknesss. He suggests that the Germans raided, ransacked, and utterly destroyed the town because they were desperately searching for a cache of Nazi gold lost in a local raid against occupying troops.
Regardless of the motives, 643 souls were cruelly slaughtered. The men of Oradour were led to six barns and sheds, shot in the legs, doused with fuel, and set on fire. The women and children were locked in the village church. It too was set ablaze and when some tried to flee, they were shot. Only six people escaped the Oradour holocaust. Robert Hebras, the last living survivor, died in February of 2023, age 97. He was 18 years old at the time of the mass execution.
The burnt remains of the village were protected and retained as a permanent memorial. A museum was built on site to provide details for those wanting to learn more and pay their respects. It is a grave reminder of how difficult life was during the Nazi occupation and in the time following the close of the war. And it is a call for humanity to be vigilant to protect all human life by keeping God ever before us and His Word always on our hearts.
Next week I will draw another parallel from my trip, highlighting the great potential of just one life invested in knowing and following God’s Word. As God’s leads, please consider making a one-time or recurring gift (click on the “Give Today” button at right). Also, your prayers will help us impact more lives, touching people who might otherwise never know the value and cost of freedom.
Founder & President • Scripture Awakening