A Kick in the Pants

Story of the Day for Monday November 28, 2011

A Kick In the Pants

                 Those who suffer according to the will of God should entrust their lives to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 

                                                             1 Peter  4:19

The most famous person to die in World War I was not a solider.  She was an English nurse by the name of Edith Cavell (sounds like “gravel”).

When the German forces overran Belgium, Edith left England and traveled to Belgium to work for the Red Cross.   The Berkendael Institute was converted into a hospital to treat wounded soldiers of all nationalities.

Edith Cavell, however, did more than treat the wounded; she also helped soldiers – both British and German – to escape to neutral Holland.

After guiding 200 Allied soldiers to safety, she was caught and arrested on August 3, 1915.  Cavell was thrown in prison for ten weeks.


The German military, fearful that higher authorities might grant her clemency, made the quick decision to deliver the death sentence.  Edith’s pastor, the Reverend Stirling Gahan, an Anglican chaplain was allowed to see her the night before her execution.  Cavell received Holy Communion and calmly told him, “I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.”  Then they softly sang “Abide with Me.”

The next day she faced the firing squad.


The German military acted quickly to execute this troublemaker before the German high command had the opportunity to release her.   A shrewd move, it would seem.

But it was a major miscalculation.  News of the execution spread swiftly.  The United States, who had not yet entered the war, was outraged, and sentiment shifted to the Allied cause. In Great Britain,  morale soared.  Edith was extolled in countless newspaper articles, pamphlets, posters, and books. As men learned of this woman’s bravery, recruitment doubled in Great Britain.

In the end, Edith’s execution turned into an enormous blunder for the German cause.


Edith Cavell was fully aware of the danger of helping wounded soldiers to escape.  Her final words to a Lutheran prison chaplain, Paul Le Seur were to reassure her loved ones that her soul was safe.

We easily forget that, if we have nothing worth dying for, we have nothing worth living for.  When we commit our lives to God’s will, let’s understand that it often involves suffering.

But there are far worse things than suffering.  One of them is spending your life in a frantic attempt to avoid suffering. When we do that, life has no purpose other than the puny goal of seeking to engineer our own personal comfort.

Go for it.  Find what God has called you to do.  What a kick in the pants it is to charge into life to do good, and leave the results to the faithful Creator.

                                               (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

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