But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Marsha Kreuzman was a teenager when the Nazis took her to a concentration camp. It was at that first camp where her mother was killed.
After that concentration camp Kreuzman went to a labor camp. From there she was taken to Auschwitz, and after that she was transferred to Bergen-Belsen. She was transferred to Flossenburg and, as the war was coming to a close, found herself at the Mauthausen camp. Over those years she became well acquainted with death as she witnessed the shooting of her own father. She also lost all track of her brother.
Kreuzman weighed 68 pounds and was waiting to be taken into the crematorium when her camp was liberated by the American soldiers.
Remembering that day Kreuzman recalls, "I was sick and when the American soldiers picked me up, I looked (and) he looked like he was in heaven."
Even though the calendar has turned many times, Kreuzman has dedicated herself to keep looking for the soldier whom she has come to think of as her guardian angel. I am pleased to report her tireless searching has been rewarded.
After numerous dead ends, Kreuzman was reading the newspaper when she came across the announcement of a couple who were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. Through that announcement she met Joe Barbella, the now 93-year-old GI who had freed her so long ago. Since then the two have visited so Kreuzman could express her undying thanks.
Reading that story I was saddened.
No, I wasn't saddened by the fact Kreuzman has found her liberator. No, I was grieved that so many people who have been freed from the slavery of sin, Satan, and death take the Savior's gracious sacrifice for granted. Unlike Kreuzman, they never take the time to seek Him out; they never offer thanksgiving, and they never express anything which approaches gratitude.
That should not be.
We who once were doomed and damned to hell have, by the Savior's blood, been rescued, redeemed, restored and recycled. Forgiveness and eternal life is a God-given gift that is unique in its scope and will last for all eternity.
Because of what Jesus has done, souls who are saved from sin by the Savior's sacrifice do not have a duty or an obligation to give thanks. They have a privilege to live out their days singing the praises of Him who has called them out of darkness into the marvelous light of salvation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for those times when I have been ungrateful may I be forgiven. Let me see clearly what once was my fate and be brought to a deeper appreciation of the manifold blessings I have been given through my Savior's death and resurrection. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries