September 17, 1930, Germany
The slim, dark-haired young man slipped behind the kitchen door, cradling a picnic basket in his arms. Within seconds, the bright red patch on a Nazi storm trooper flashed past the crack in the doorway.
Jacob Cohen held his breath as he waited for the click of boots to diminish then swallowed hard. Before another soldier appeared, he had to reach the inside of the dumb-waiter. Scarcely breathing, he tiptoed across the kitchen and slid open the door of the dumb-waiter. The accompanying squeak sounded deafening in the still kitchen.
He glanced once again at the doorway to the hall. Everything remained quiet, so he lifted the basket through the opening then climbed through to perch on the inner shelf. After another quick appraisal of the empty kitchen, he let the door glide down. It closed more quietly than it had risen.
Trapped inside the darkness of the dumbwaiter, he choked on musty smells from decades of food and dirty dishes. A wave of nausea hit him as the narrow walls closed in, but he shook his head. He couldn’t fail now. All that he held precious depended on him.
He slid on a pair of rough leather gloves to pull the ropes running through the sides of the dumb-waiter. At first, he moved rather quickly, but it didn’t take long for his own weight to work against him. A few times he lost his grip and, if not for the gloves, would have burned his hands as the ropes ripped through his fingers.
Take care, Jacob. That mustn’t occur on the ride down with his precious cargo.
As he neared the second floor of the house, he detected a faint light from the upstairs opening of the dumb-waiter. He paused. The panel had been left ajar. Anyone who happened by the landing gained an unobstructed view of the moving ropes and could hear their telltale rustle as he inched his way upward. The soldiers might already lie in wait. But he wouldn’t turn back. He couldn’t turn back. The threshold loomed above him. He slowed his ascent until he could peek over the edge of the ledge. Not a soul wandered the bare wooden floor.
After securing the ropes, he grabbed his basket and gingerly stretched his legs to the floor. The instant both feet touched the ground, he moved to the door of Geli’s room. They kept her locked inside, but the key was always kept in the lock. With a swift turn, he gained access then shut the door noiselessly behind him.
It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust to the dim light in the heavily draped room, and then his attention shifted to the skeletal figure lying in the wide double bed. Geli leaned against raised pillows, her head bent over a bundle she clutched tightly to her chest.
Jacob’s gasp at the astonishing changes in her physical appearance didn’t draw her gaze. Her once lustrous, blond hair now hung in limp strands. The blue eyes once so vibrant with life had sunk deep in their sockets, and dark purple smudges highlighted the hollows underneath.
He cleared his throat, but Geli continued to croon softly to the tiny infant cradled in her matchstick arms. For a moment, Jacob faltered. Was she mindless? If he spoke, she might scream. Then Jacob glimpsed the face of his tiny son. He stepped beside the bed and bent low.
“Geli, darling,” he whispered. “Your Jacob is here. We have to go now.”
Recognition lighted her eyes, and she whimpered softly.
“Jacob?” She shook her head. “No, Jacob, why did you come? Now, they’ll kill you, too.”
Tears welled in her eyes.
“It’s all right. They don’t know I’m here. Frederic, one of the soldiers, is a friend. He helped me get in the house. Come now, we’re leaving.”
“I haven’t the strength.” She nudged the baby toward him. “Look at your son.”
“He’s beautiful. Just like you.”
As Jacob brushed his knuckles across her pallid cheek, sorrow mingled with longing.
“He is.” She smiled weakly at him. “Take him and go…before they come.”
“I can’t leave you. I’ll carry you to the dumb-waiter.”
“The baby and me? No, I can barely stand.”
Indecision clouded his thoughts as he opened the picnic hamper and placed the baby inside, cushioned by the lamb’s wool his mother had lovingly provided.
“Geli, we’ll wait for you at grandfather’s farm. Surely Adolph will let you go now.”
“No, no, leave Europe immediately. Tell your family Adolph is insane.” Terror clouded her eyes. “He’s going to kill the Jews, every last one.”
“But, why, Geli? Only I wounded his pride.”
She struggled to sit up. “It’s not you, Jacob. He already hated the Jews. There is nowhere in Europe you’ll be safe.” She fell back, exhausted. “Adolph plans to exterminate every Jew in the world.”
“Except himself,” Jacob added bitterly. “How will you find us, Geli?”
“Go to your family in London. Wait for me.”
When he didn’t move, Geli urged him. “Go, Jacob, before it’s too late.”
Jacob was beside himself with anguish. His eyes raced from the baby to the door and back to Geli. “But I love you, Geli.”
“And I love you, Jacob. Now save our son.” A tear glistened on her cheek as she pointed toward a copy of Mein Kampf lying on her bedside table. “Take it. It will convince you of his plans.”
Jacob grabbed the book and placed it in the basket with the sleeping baby then clamped the lid tight. He padded to the door and opened it a crack to see if the way was clear.
With one more agonizing glance at Geli, he held the basket firmly to his chest and made his way to the dumb-waiter. In a matter of moments, they sat safely inside.
Descending the shaft came much more quickly. They attained the bottom, and Jacob sat rigidly in place, straining his ears for the presence of anyone in the kitchen. A pot clanged against the sink, and he heard the unmistakable sound of running water. He lingered. Perhaps the person would leave.
He glanced at the picnic basket held against his chest. If the baby should awaken and cry out, all would be lost.
Minutes passed like hours until Jacob felt he must risk raising the door of the dumb-waiter. If the air felt close inside the dumbwaiter, it must be much worse for the baby inside the basket.
The clanging flatware and gurgling water gave him the location of the person in the kitchen. The sink didn’t face him. Perhaps he could sneak out without being seen. He slowly raised the door, attempting to avoid the horrible screeching of before but couldn’t prevent a slight rasp every few inches.
With the door raised halfway, he recognized Nelda, the family cook, an elderly woman married to a Jew. He had no choice but to chance her good favor. He climbed noiselessly out, careful not to jostle the basket.
As he crept toward the root cellar, the cook turned and gasped, nearly dropping the brimming kettle of water. Jacob froze where he stood, as if all thought and time were suspended as they stared at one another. The wizened old lady looked from Jacob to the basket with a question in her eyes.
He mouthed the word…baby.
She gasped, and her hand came to her mouth.
Jacob pointed at the root cellar. It was his only means of escaping the house without encountering a storm trooper.
After a frightened look toward the hall door, Nelda rushed forward to help Jacob open the root cellar then held the basket while Jacob stepped down.
After she handed the basket off, her arms flailed as she motioned Jacob to wait. She glanced wildly about the room before whisking away. When she returned, her round and wrinkled face wreathed in smiles, she held two baby bottles of milk. Jacob grasped them with a nod and a smile then the cellar doors closed over his head.
When he had stumbled across the barren stone floor to the outside door, he rapped against the frame. Frederic’s uniform moved across a crack in the door before it lifted out of the way.
He hauled Jacob up. “Geli?”
Jacob shook his head.
“I…I’m sorry, my friend. Get far away before stopping.”
Jacob turned and fled to the mountainous woods of the Obersalzberg ridge. He looked back only once. Not even Frederic remained beside the house.
A short time later, a soldier knocked on Geli’s door then entered. Geli held the bundle of baby blankets to her breast.
“Get out!” She shrieked. “How dare you invade my privacy when I nurse my baby? Get out!”
The soldier backed out the door, stuttering his apology.
Geli continued to cradle the baby blanket to her chest as tears cascaded down her cheeks to drip off the tip of her chin. This was all she had left. Her uncle, Adolph Hitler, would never release her, consumed as he was by his passion for her.
Hours later, Geli opened the baby blanket and grasped the pistol tightly in her hand. No one remembered her pistol, a gift from her father in happier days before he died.
She ensured the gun was properly loaded, something else her father had taught her.
“Be safe, my darlings,” she murmured.
With the pistol pointed to her heart, she pulled the trigger.
On the day Jacob went seeking his revenge, he left his family safely ensconced with relatives outside London. His four-year old son lay asleep on a cot. Watching him was the only thing that softened Jacob’s heart. Though he hated the thought of being separated from his son, he hated Hitler more. Now that Hitler had declared himself supreme ruler of Germany, Jacob could afford to wait no longer. Hitler’s atrocities cried out for justice.
When Jacob stepped off the bus, he scarcely noticed the frigid rain in London. Only one thing occupied his mind. How could he hurt Hitler the way he’d been hurt? With grim determination, he entered the offices of the British Intelligence Service, SIS. Two men sat behind a counter, discussing the weather. A young woman seated at a desk nearby, refreshed the ink on her typewriter ribbon and began to type without looking up. Against the entrance wall, a few empty chairs bespoke the futility of Jacob’s venture. No one wanted to be out in weather such as this. No one held intelligence for the SIS. And no one paid much attention to the soft-spoken, dark-haired man as he entered the room.
“I would like to speak to someone about Germany.”
The rapid rat-a-tat of the typewriter continued unabated.
The older man finished what he was saying before turning to face Jacob, even then, his tone didn’t encourage confidences. “What’s that, chap?”
“Germany. I have evidence about Hitler.”
Jacob entertained little doubt that he’d located the right place to offer his concerns. He’d done extensive research. But how to reach the correct official, he didn’t know.
The clerk gave his companion a sidelong glance and chuckled a bit before answering. “And what might that be?”
They indulged him, and not very politely, but he wasn’t giving up at the first sign of resistance. “Hitler intends to conquer all of Europe. This country is at risk. Whom should I tell?”
The man laughed, head thrown back and crooked, yellow teeth bared. Jacob could imagine his thoughts. To the rest of the world, Hitler was an untried commodity. No one cared what happened in Germany as long as they made their reparations from the First World War. Besides, in an office of spies, they wouldn’t dare to reveal their interest in Hitler to a total stranger, especially one with a German accent.
“Thanks, mate. I’ll be sure the proper authorities are notified.”
A slight movement to the right drew Jacob’s gaze. A third man stood from behind the counter, gave Jacob a hard look then departed through a nearby glass door.
Jacob returned his attention to the man who had so carelessly dismissed him. The clerk’s attitude didn’t anger him. He felt only pity. The English were fools, who thought their impressive navy and worldwide conquests made them immune to conquerors. It would be a shame if they learned the hard way.
“Thank you, but I’ll wait to speak to someone myself.”
The man’s eyes narrowed in an attempt to stare Jacob down. He crossed his arms over his chest. Obviously, he had no intention of relaying the message. Jacob returned his gaze with unwavering calm.
The man rolled his eyes then waved him at a chair. “Take a seat, but you’ll be waiting until you’re grey-headed, mate.”
The side door opened. The man who had just departed gestured at Jacob. “If you could accompany me, sir.”
Jacob was ushered into a small corner office, little more than a closet. The man seated behind the desk showed scant interest when Jacob walked in, continuing to make tally marks against the list on his legal pad.
Jacob remained standing, noting the severe part on the man’s thinning scalp, the clean-shaven face, the pressed grey suit and navy tie, the neat arrangement of each item on the desk. A man of method.
A keen gaze settled on Jacob as the gentleman stood and held out a hand. “How do you do?”
“Very well. Thank you for agreeing to speak with me. My name is Jacob Cohen. I’m a German…but also a Jew.” Jacob’s thick accent gave credence to his words, and the man nodded. “My family has relatives in England with whom we have been living for the past four years…since we were forced to flee Germany.” Jacob laid a piece of paper on the desk. “This is the address and names. You will see…we are legitimate.”
“Won’t you sit down?” The older gentleman returned to his seat, steepling his fingers as he stared at Jacob. “What is it you want from me?”
“An opportunity to stop Adolph Hitler from destroying your home as he destroyed mine. I have contacts in Germany, and I have a diary of illegal acts that Hitler has perpetrated against our country. He will not stop with Germany.” He held out an English copy of Mein Kampf. “This proves the validity of my claims.”
“I’ve read it. Can you tell me something I don’t know?”
Jacob’s eyes narrowed. “Before I answer, I’d like your name.”
The man seated opposite had taken Jacob’s mettle while he listened to the boy. He saw before him a youngster of average height and build, dark hair, and dark brown eyes alight with a zealous gleam. The open, honest face lacked the ability for subterfuge, but obviously, something momentous had occurred in his life that brought him to the secret services. He decided to encourage the boy…to a point.
“That’s fair. Stewart Graham Menzies.”
“Thank you, Mr. Menzies. My story is quite lengthy, but easily confirmed. In 1928, Adolph Hitler invited his widowed half-sister, Frau Angela Raubin, to leave Vienna and keep house for him. His father, a half-Jewish German, was married many times, three that I know of. Frau Raubin is six years older than Adolph. She arrived with two daughters, Friedl and Geli. At the time, Geli was twenty and Adolph thirty-nine, but he became obsessed with her.”
Jacob’s face and voice tightened as he struggled to relate the events of Adolph’s life. It was clearly a personal topic to him, which seemed odd to Menzies. He nodded from time to time, but he really expected to hear nothing new.
“Adolph rented a villa on the Obersalzberg. It’s a mountain ridge over the town of Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. It’s only three hours by car or train to Munich, the headquarters of the Nazi party. Whenever he could get away from his duties, he came to the villa to see Geli.
“At first, she felt flattered by the attention of such an important person. The more time she spent with him, the more he revealed the insanity of his soul. She was repulsed and invented ways to avoid his company.”
Jacob paused and took a deep breath. Menzies waited impatiently for the young man to continue. He’d never met an actual witness to the goings-on in Hitler’s personal world.
“One day, out riding, she ventured to my grandfather’s farm. Her horse had a stone lodged in his hoof, and she sought my assistance to remove it. We invited her to partake of the noon meal. She joined us that day and on many occasions after, until Adolph found out. It was unspeakable that his beloved would lower herself to befriend a family of Jews and actually enjoy a meal with them.”
Jacob shook his head as if to shake off the bitterness then looked directly into the eyes of Stewart Menzies. “He forbade her to come to us again. When she didn’t return my phone calls, I rode to the villa. Adolph was gone, but Frau Raubal ordered me to leave the premises and not return because Geli wished never to see me again.”
Jacob blinked several times, obviously suffering from strong emotion. “I didn’t understand, but I retreated. That evening I received a call from the cook that worked for Frau Raubin. Her husband is Jewish, and she was sympathetic to Geli. She informed me of the discord between Adolph and Geli. Geli chose to disobey Adolph and was coming to see me. When she rode her horse to our rendezvous, she was frightened. Adolph was pushing her to marry him. I…asked her to marry me, and she agreed.”
Jacob paused, watching the reaction of the intelligence man he hoped would be able to help him. There was no sign Menzies felt sympathetic.
Jacob steeled his heart and persevered. “She returned home that day after a brief interlude, so she wouldn’t arouse suspicion. I was to send a message through the cook when I arranged for the wedding. I located a Jewish rabbi who agreed to perform the ceremony, and we married three days later. Geli came to the farm with me as my wife.
“When Adolph discovered our union, he became crazed. I was beaten by his SS soldiers and left lying in the road for dead. He took Geli away and had the marriage annulled. He then forced her to stay at his Munich apartment and took her everywhere he went.” Jacob choked on the words, and his voice faltered. “Unfortunately for Adolph, there was something he couldn’t annul. Geli was pregnant, but she hid it from him until it was too late for him to terminate the pregnancy. He sent her back to the villa to have the baby, surrounded at all times by his soldiers. As soon as the baby was born, Geli was kept locked in her room.”
Menzies finally spoke, polite interest in his voice. “What did you do about this?”
“I watched the house. When I recognized one of the guards as a childhood companion, I begged him to help me. It wasn’t hard to convince him. He said everyone could hear Geli weeping inside her room. She was miserably unhappy.
“I sneaked into the house up to her room. She looked like a pasty-skinned skeleton, and at first, I wondered if her mind was intact. She gave me the baby, our son, but said she was too weak to make an escape. She urged me to wait for her in London with my relatives. I gave in. I thought surely Adolph would release her to go to her child. My family agreed to flee with me. That was in September of 1930.” Jacob’s chin came up, and he stared straight ahead. “Geli didn’t make it.”
“What happened to her?”
“She chose to end her suffering. She was buried in Vienna. You can check it. This is a copy of our wedding certificate.”
Jacob dropped the evidence on the desk. Menzies reached for it and scrutinized the document for a few seconds.
“Suppose I believe you. What then? This is a personal vendetta. There’s nothing here to convince me that Hitler is a threat to England.”
“You say you’ve read Mein Kampf. I’m sure there are many who didn’t believe he intends to do all he spoke of in that book. Let me share more recent evidence of his intentions and ability to accomplish his aims.”
“He outlawed all political parties except the Nazi party. He eliminated the historic states of our country after using one of them to gain the ability to run for office. He isn’t a German citizen. It is illegal for him to hold office. He eradicated freedom of speech. All press is controlled by the state. He instituted laws that remove all Jewish civil servants from positions of public service. Jewish judges have been physically removed from courtrooms, Jewish lawyers disbarred, and patent agents and tax advisors dismissed. At the instigation of the Nazi Party, Jewish stores are boycotted. Jewish children are no longer allowed to go to school with the Aryan children.” Jacob glanced triumphantly at Menzies. “Are you aware that he instituted re-education camps where anyone who opposes him is taken and beaten…or slaughtered? People just disappear!”
“Can you be more specific…names…dates?”
Jacob listed Hitler’s rival party members and the months when they’d disappeared. He also related the area of Germany that had been utilized for the “camps.” Then he said something that finally got a spark out of Menzies.
“Hitler’s own party started the Reichstag fire on Feb. 27, 1933, to convince the German people and President von Hindenburg that the Communists were a threat to Germany’s survival. The President signed a decree, The Emergency Ordinance, which suspends civil liberties and legalizes the terror begun by Hitler’s personal Nazi army, the Sturmabteilung, or S.A. His soldiers arrested and beat or murdered anyone they wanted. This hid his true purpose.”
“Which would be what?”
“To eliminate the last vestiges of resistance in the old party members and generals. The remaining few members of Reichstag that were opposed to him are too afraid to disagree. He forced congress to amend the Constitution, transferring all legislative authority from the Reichstag to himself. Hitler can create any law he wishes.”
“How have you obtained this information? If the general German public is unaware of Hitler’s plans, how does a Jewish refugee know of them?”
“The cook that helped me abduct my son was taken away for questioning. Her husband was arrested soon after. They never returned. There were those in our community who were able to obtain information. Friedl, Geli’s sister, was able to send news for a while. That avenue of contact has been removed, but she did pass on my name to others whom she thought would be sympathetic.”
“Are you saying there’s already a network of resistance against Hitler? In Germany?”
“Yes. On February 3, three days after Hitler was appointed Chancellor, he convened a meeting for the top Wehrmacht officials. He stated that if France had any statesmen, she would not allow Germany to rearm but would attack the Reich. This and other comments were overheard by many non-official personnel from secretaries to bellboys to waiters. The reports are passed to those considered sympathetic to our cause. Did you know the Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss was assassinated on orders from Hitler? Soon the German military will enter the neutral Saar region.”
Menzies tapped his desk with a pen for several seconds then took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Members of the foreign press stationed in Germany have substantiated many of the facts you relate, Mr. Cohen. Still, you’re a displaced Jew…a German. What can you do?”
“Place me where I can become the most damaging weapon you have against Hitler. He will move against you. He’s the totalitarian dictator of Germany, head of state, head of legislature, and head of the military. Everything he promised in Mein Kampf will be brought to fruition.”
“At present, there’s nothing. If you continue to send information through my office, I’ll endeavor to place you in the thick of things if and when Hitler shows his hand.”
Jacob swallowed hard. Not quite what he wanted to hear. He could only stare at the man who stood between him and his revenge.
Menzies settled back in his chair and sighed. “Look…I can’t relate classified information without reliable verification of your…uh…facts. You might well be a plant put in place by Hitler himself.”
“I understand.” As Jacob rose, he dropped several photographs on Menzies’ desk. “Here are a few souvenirs of what you have to look forward to if Hitler gets a foothold in your country or anyone else’s.”
He turned for the door. He tasted the bitter pill of failure as bile rose in his throat.
“Wait!” Menzies called. “Leave your number. I…may contact you.”
Jacob gestured at the papers he’d already given Menzies. “You have it. But I won’t wait long. There has to be someone who’ll listen.”
The door closed, and Menzies picked up the photographs.
April 1, 1933, was written on the back in cramped English. It was a photograph taken of a poster. “The Jews have till 10 a.m. on Saturday to reflect. Then the struggle commences. The Jews of the world want to destroy Germany. German people resist! Don’t buy from Jews!”
Another picture revealed a German Jew walking down a German street, escorted by armed guards, stripped of his shoes and trousers, and carrying a placard that read- I am a Jew, but I have no complaints about the Nazis.
Menzies held doubts about what the British were prepared to endure for the sake of peace. Why couldn’t his superiors see what was at stake? Obviously, few men in authority suspected Hitler’s true intentions or had the gumption to do anything about it.
Months later, the German military entered the neutral Saar region. Menzies read the news with trepidation. He waited several days, expecting the intervention of the French and British governments. It seemed those in power would accept almost anything as long as their own countries weren’t forced into the conflict.
Jacob finally received a call. “This is Menzies. Come back to my office. I may have something for you.”
When Jacob bent to ruffle the blond curls on his son’s head and give him one more kiss, he knew it could be for the last time. If he had to lose his life to stop Hitler, so be it. No sacrifice was too great to protect those he loved.
His father held tightly to him. “Jacob, see what you have to live for. Would you leave Geli’s child without a father? Let those trained for war, make war. We are farmers.”
“We won’t be safe anywhere if someone doesn’t do something. Take care of my Jacob. Tell him of his mother and father. I’ll be back.”
He walked out the door and closed it with quiet determination. He would see to it that Adolph Hitler was stopped once and for all.
This time Jacob didn’t hesitate in the reception area of the SIS but headed straight for the office he’d visited earlier. He knocked on the door, and when a voice said come in, he received a shock. A stranger sat behind the desk. Had he made a mistake? Surely this was the same corner room. A substantially younger man sat gazing at Jacob, his brows raised and eyes wide with question. He looked familiar, but Jacob wasn’t sure.
“May I help you?” the man asked.
“I met someone here…in this office. He called and asked me to come back. His name was Stewart Menzies.”
“Aah. He uses my office from time to time.” He stood. “Follow me. You’re Jacob Cohen?”
Jacob followed him out the door, only slightly surprised the man knew of him.
They walked further down the narrow hallway then up several flights of stairs. “Sorry about the climbing. It will be better if fewer people see you here.”
They paused before the entry to the fifth floor. The man took out a key and opened the door, allowing Jacob to pass before him. He again took the lead until he reached a closed metal door at the end of the corridor.
When he knocked, they received an immediate answer, and the door opened.
Stewart Menzies stood and held out his hand. “Thank you for coming, Mr. Cohen. Won’t you have a seat?”
He ushered them in, and Jacob glanced up when the young man joined them.
“Jacob Cohen, meet Brad Gilderchrest.”
The two men shook hands as Menzies continued his explanation. “Brad fronts for me. It’s not always a good idea for me to show too much interest initially, so I utilize his talents and his office.”
Jacob nodded. The owner of the scrupulously neat desk was this young man with the close-cropped fair hair. Already, these circumstances seemed totally alien to a simple farmer.
Menzies sat on the corner of his desk and stared at Jacob. “Consider this meeting confidential. Few people in this country, as yet, recognize the full intent of Adolph Hitler. I’m one of the few. That’s why Brad made sure you ended up in his office days ago. I know you want to go out in the field, but there isn’t anywhere I can send you. However, I do need information, and I know someone who believes as you, another Jew, Bertold Jacob. You already have much in common.”
Jacob and Jacob. How could this man help him? “What does he do?”
“Exactly as you. He records everything Germany does and makes predictions. He’s determining Hitler’s order of battle. He’s a genius, and he’ll know how to use you.” Menzies picked up a slip of paper. “This is where you can find him. Memorize it. He’ll be expecting you. Your code name is Insidious.”
Jacob laughed aloud.
“I’m glad you find it amusing.”
Jacob smiled at him for the first time. “I think it’s perfect. But whom does it describe, me or Hitler?”
Menzies gave a faint smile in return. “Both. Gilderchrest will show you out. Keep me informed.”
He turned away to sit behind his desk. The interview was at an end, but the training had just begun.
According to the tests at the training facility, Jacob wasn’t the type to become an undercover agent, but desperate times drive a man beyond himself. He received a new identity and learned French in a miraculously short time. He trained in the art of subversion and subterfuge until he could think and look like someone from any walk of life. His intense desire to become a part of the resistance against Hitler probably allowed him to excel at these things.
He discovered something else, too. He met a minister who helped his family and other Jewish refugees. Reverend Whyte and Jacob walked together every day that last month in England. For the most part, Jacob listened as the Reverend encouraged him to let go of rage and murder, to fight the good fight for the right reasons.
“Jacob, you know anger is like murder to God. If you ask Him, He’ll help you get rid of it. But you must make the decision to lay down all that was before and trust God to take care of it. I don’t know why your wife had to suffer, but I see God working to bring something good out of her sacrifice. Coming here was a blessing for your family. They will prosper and grow. And you, my friend, have blessed my life so completely in my last days. What would life have been like if your family never came here?”
“I don’t know, Reverend. I’m tired of trying to figure it out. All I see now is what I must do.”
They had held this conversation many times, but today seemed more significant.
“That’s another blessing God has brought from suffering. For the forces of good to defeat the forces of evil, there must be those who are ready to lay down their lives. You are ready, morally, to make that sacrifice. Are you ready spiritually?”
Jacob had known the question would come. He had anticipated it, even thought about what his answer would be. “No, but I’m ready to answer the call. I haven’t found a way to forgive Adolph for what he’s done, but I’m willing for God to take that burden from me…if He wants it.”
“Oh, Jacob, He wants that very much. In fact, I read something in First Peter that I thought would help you.” Reverend Whyte opened his Bible and found the passage he had underlined. “Verses 6 through 11. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Jacob stared at the ground. It was as if the entire passage had been written especially for him. A roaring lion did seek to devour all that was dear to him. And it had become a burden, a care, that was dragging Jacob down. If Yeshua wanted to take that burden and strengthen Jacob, he could find the will to go on.
He looked gratefully at Reverend Whyte, not knowing what to say. “It’s just what I needed, Reverend.”
Jacob left for France with a newfound faith and the mortal skills to defeat the enemy. Father, help me vanquish the enemy because man’s attempts to defeat Hitler seem to fail. Help me overcome.