Stations on the Road to Freedom

One of the most beautiful and stirring calls to grasp life in the face of suffering and death; because suffering, which will come to faithful followers of Jesus, and death, which comes to us all, are only transitory and temporary.  We are (or probably more accurately, can be) free!!!!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer; July 21, 1944


 If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all
discipline of soul and senses
, so that your passions
and your limbs might not lead you confusedly hither and yon.
Chaste be your spirit and body, subject to your own will,
and obedient to seek out the goal that they have been given.
No one discovers the secret of freedom but through self-control


 Dare to do what is just, not what fancy may call for;
Lose not time with what may be, but boldly grasp what is real.
The world of thought is escape; freedom only comes through action.
Step out beyond anxious waiting and into the storm of events,
carried only by God’s command and by your own faith;
then will freedom exultantly cry out to welcome your spirit.


Wondrous transformation! Your strong and active hands
are tied now. Powerless, alone, you see the end of your action.
Still, you take a deep breath and lay your struggle for justice,
quietly and in faith, into a mightier hand
Just for one blissful moment, you tasted the sweetness of freedom,
then you handed it over to God, that he might make it whole.


Come now, highest moment on the road to freedom eternal,
Death, put down the ponderous chains and demolish the walls
of our mortal bodies, the walls of our blinded souls,
that we might finally see what mortals have kept us from seeing.
Freedom, how long we have sought you through discipline, action, and suffering.
Dying, now we behold your face in the countenance of God.  


4 thoughts on “Stations on the Road to Freedom

  1. Bonhoeffer’s life can be an example to a Christian’s response in a time of extreme conflict. There are definitely areas in our own global existence which need Christian voice and we should not humbly bow out of these arenas. Two verses which have helped me in the past year are:

    Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O Man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly & love mercy & to walk humbly with your God.”


    Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

    Right now I struggling with having a consistent spiritual walk and study of the word. Have a great week. ~r

  2. Ryan,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree with you wholeheartedly (couldn’t agree more!) of a Christian’s response in a time of conflict. I’ve been doing some serious thinking here recently though of finding a rootedness in daily life in our Western society that prepares me to be faithful in the midst of the series of temptations we face now. It isn’t a case of extreme persecution, but this sort of pursuit I’m hoping will profoundly shape me in the event of having to stand up and stand out; and in the meanwhile will help me sort through my life decisions in the meantime.

    It’s relevant, I think, to recall the history of the early church with this persecution matter. The persecution came very sporadically, with there being long periods of time where they were not bothered. As those times lengthened, teaching on persecution and faith under trial became less and less practiced. But when persecution came in hot and heavy again, large numbers of Christians recanted their faith because they had not been shaped in times of relative ease to be able to stand up for Christ. History has a lot to say about our possible actions, I think.

    I can relate to your last thought; I deeply struggle with that consistency in study and discipline myself. Keep struggling!


  3. Your 2nd paragraph is a great point and one which I had not thought of. I’ve been thinking about that point a lot in the past few wks. Thanks for a great blog. Keep challenging me Nate.


  4. thanks for the encouragement ryan. This blog (though I may come off as supremely confident or judgmental or critical sometimes) often is an attempt to sort out some of the major questions I live with daily. I spend a lot of time inside my head with personal struggles or questions about everything ranging from the role of government to why I can’t seem to be self-motivated even when I want to be.

    It helps to get it out, and hopefully it helps someone else too. I try to be careful not to emotionally dump on this site, because that’s neither healthy nor constructive; but working through life issues is a whole ‘nother animal. Sometimes after a post, I’ll have this big heavy sigh and feel a little better, if for no other reason than it’s somewhere other than smashing into other thoughts in my brain.

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