Joshua 1:7 (New International Version)
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
In March 1939, Japanese Consul-General Chiune Sugihara was sent to Kaunas to open a consulate service. Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania at the time and was strategically situated between Germany and the Soviet Union. After Hitler's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
Chiune had barely settled down in his new post when Nazi armies invaded Poland and a wave of Jewish refugees streamed into Lithuania. They brought with them chilling tales of German atrocities against the Jewish population. In June 1940, the Soviets invaded Lithuania and soon after ordered all foreign embassies to leave. Three times Sugihara wired Tokyo for permission to provide Japanese visas to Jews; three times he was rejected.
Sugihara, a committed Christian, had to choose between his job and those whose lives hung in the balance. For 29 days, from July 31 to August 28, 1940, Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara sat for endless hours writing and signing visas by hand. Hour after hour, day after day, for these three weeks, they wrote and signed visas. They wrote over 300 visas a day, ultimately his work saved 6,000 Jews.
Back in Japan, Sugihara's remaining days were spent selling light bulbs. When his story was finally told, his son was asked, "How did your father feel about his choice?" "My father's life was fulfilled. When God needed him to do the right thing, he was available to do it."
The Lord encourages us to be strong and to obediently follow Him.
Dear Lord we thank You that You have not left us alone. We pray that we would always seek to follow You in everything that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.