I clearly remember the moment and the circumstances when I first felt the grace and presence of God. Of course, I would not have used such lofty words then–I was eleven years old and emerging into the rubble and dust after an air attack on our little town in Bavaria.
During the years of war before then, the thought that God is by my side and ready to take my hand had already been the most powerful and perhaps the only belief that helped me cope with daily fear and tragedy. My parents were strong, loving and courageous people of faith who lived Jesus’ ‘do unto others…’ command during the Nazi regime and I was just old enough to see and understand the strength of their belief and daily reliance on God’s care. My Sunday school lessons, too, taught in an underground space, centered on a God who understood the woes of our daily existence and cared about our fate. Such a loving God was very real and personal to me as a child.
On that day, when my mother and wethree children had climbed out of the cellar of a small two-story house, we saw total devastation and a landscape of bomb craters around us. The only structure still standing on a roughly 25 x 50 ft. plot, was our partially destroyed house! On all sides, mere inches separated it from the rims of deep craters! I still see and feel myself looking at that surreal scene, clinging to my Mom and saying in a loud voice: “I think I am only here because God must have a plan for me!”
That day’s experience and others like it, as well as my parents’ daily example, soon made me aware that God calls us to live lives that contribute to the good and the humanity of all our earthly fellow travelers. This feeling of accountability became a guiding principle in my personal life and even in the choice of my profession. For over 45 years now, my Hancock Church community has greatly and steadily supported me in this quest and I am deeply grateful for this priceless gift.
A Faith Story by Rosemarie Sauermann