First Steps into Freedom

Deuteronomy 31:8

This was no dream. No, the beauty of this morning all around me was real, and the songs of birds and fragrance of flowers were real. How pleasant to be in this quiet and beautiful spot under the bushes where I spent my first night of freedom. How wonderful to know that I would never more be in a dark, narrow cell. No more starving, no more pain of separation from my beloved ones, no more heartbreaking loneliness.

I realized that it was time for me to get up, leave my hiding place and face my new life. I stood up straight, and took a deep breath of the fresh, fragrant air. My thoughts turned to my family. “O Lord, soon, very soon I shall press them all to my heart, my beloved Erna and the children.”

For 10 long years like a robot I had been taught to obey without question the orders of my oppressors. I was afraid of people, of life and the future. But is it not 360 times written in the Word of God, “Fear not”? I would trust Him. My fear disappeared and in my heart rang the words:

 

I will not care how dark the night,

I will not care how wild the storm.

Thy love will fill my heart with light,

And shield me close and keep me warm.

 

With this determination I faced a new free life with a fervent prayer on my lips and in my heart to the Lord, that He would hold my hand and lead me as He did in the past. I felt the presence of the Savior gloriously, and overflowing joy came into my soul. Through fields and meadows I walked for many miles to the nearest railway station. From there I sent a telegram to my wife, asking her to meet me at the train, and with only our children. Now I wondered, how would they look, and how would they accept me? Ten years is a long time during which many things change, especially in the life of a child. It was hard for me to accept that the sweet years of their childhood were irrevocably lost for me.

“Prague!” The voice of the train conductor awoke me. I got up. My feet and legs were trembling. Pushing my way through the crowd I at last saw her—my beloved wife. In her simple dress she stood there quietly. She looked different from the flourishing young woman I was forced to leave ten years before. Her dark golden hair had turned grey. The fresh roses on her cheeks had been erased by pain and sorrow. Struggles and persecutions had left their mark on her sweet features. But in spite of all, out of her whole being another beauty radiated—the beauty of a soul purified by fire.

Josef Korbel, When the Gates Were Opened

 

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