LIFELINES - INSPIRATIONAL LIVES

Click on Arrow for more detailsRaoul Wallenberg – A man of Destiny

There's an old saying that most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy. This was not the case with Raoul Wallenberg.

Wallenberg was one of the Swedish Ambassadors to Hungary in the latter part of WW2. He was recruited and funded by the United States to help save the Jewish Population of Budapest from extermination by their Nazi occupiers.

In the course of this mission, Wallenberg did some very remarkable things, which looking back seem well near impossible, had it not been for the favour of God.

Wallenberg was once seen standing on the top of a train crammed with Jewish prisoners heading for Auschwitz. He handed scores of Swedish passports to the people in the train and then ordered everyone with a Swedish passport get off. Amazingly, the German soldiers seemed mesmerised by him and let the prisoners go.

In this and similar ways, Raoul Wallenberg is thought to have rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from death.

Sadly, as the war was ending, the Russians had become suspicious of Wallenberg's connection with the United States. He was captured shortly after their arrival in Hungary in 1945 and never released.

It's hard to tell whether or not Wallenberg had a strong personal relationship with God or whether he was like the Old Testament King Cyrus - anointed for God's purpose in history.

What is clear though is that Raoul Wallenberg was very sure of his destiny - "I must save the Jewish Nation and I MUST save the young."

"For me there is no other choice."

Wallenberg's bravery and sacrifice have been honoured all over the world, but most notably by the Israeli people.

The highest form of recognition for a non - Jewish person was given to Raoul Wallenberg, when a tree was planted in his honour in the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles.

Click on Arrow for more detailsNeil Livingston – A Man of Honour

I knew Dr Who's Dad- and he wasn't a Timelord either. He was a Parish minister who eventually became Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

It didn't surprise me to hear how David Tennant (really David MacDonald) turned out. Exceptional people often have exceptional children.

One such exceptional person, much less well known than his son was Neil Livingston, the father of missionary explorer David Livingstone.

Neil Livingston - a door to door tea salesman and lay preacher had a strong revelation of honour and of generational blessing.

It would seem that this had been instilled in him by his own father. Neil's father at one point called all his family together and told them that he had searched carefully and found that there had never been a dishonourable man in the family line. He strongly urged them to keep it that way.

Neil's understanding of honour helped his own son David when under threat of death from hostile African tribesmen. When asked by the inhabitants if he wished to run from their threatened village, he replied, "No. God has promised to protect me and his word is the word of a gentleman."

Clearly David Livingstone understood from his father, that for a man to be a man of honour - a true gentleman - he needed to be a man who kept his word. This understanding helped him to understand that God would most certainly keep His Word in every circumstance, including the direst ones.

Reading this, I renewed my own commitment to be someone who would "swear to their own hurt and not change." (Psalm 15v6) This generation needs to see us model strict commitment to our Word so that they know how to trust in a God who keeps His Word.

FOOTNOTE: The use of Livingston for Neil and Livingstone for David is not a typo. David Livingstone changed the spelling of his name to reflect the teaching in I Peter of living stones.

Click on Arrow for more detailsCompelled by love

Last week I finally got round to visiting the David Livingstone Memorial Centre in Blantyre. I've always been fascinated by Dr Livingstone, as my maiden name is Livingstone, and although it's not possible that we could be direct descendants, my Uncle Robert always thought there was a family connection. It would certainly explain my childhood fascination for exploration and my obsession with finding the source of the Bog Burn.( For Dr Livingstone, it was the Nile.)

As you walk through the museum you become very aware of the hardships Dr Livingstone and his wife must have endured as they preached the gospel, mapped the territories and worked hard to eradicate the internal East African slave trade.

The museum's exhibits give a vivid picture of the physical suffering: a cast of Livingstone's arm, broken in three places after he was attacked by a lion and numerous written accounts of painful diseases and encounters with hostile tribes.

At University I studied many books about Dr Livingstone. The writers were particularly fascinated with his motivation - why would he endure what he did? But there was never any mystery. Right at the end of the museum, in a marble wall, Livingstone’s own words are inscribed:

The Love of Christ Compelled Me.
 

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