Two weeks ago today God called a precious seventeen year old little girl to challenge the world. Within hours of Sarah’s physical death someone had succinctly titled the challenge #servelikesarah. Early Friday morning our family was blessed to see #servelikesarah popping up in posts by many of our sweet MZBC students on social media. It encouraged our hearts as it was one of the first glimmers of hope that others were understanding her passionate love for the Lord and being challenged by her. Since then we have been blessed to see it far and wide and are profoundly encouraged by the message it conveys.
As I have been thinking about it over the past few days, I felt led to paint a clearer picture of what it really means to “serve like Sarah.” The simplest assumption might be that serving like Sarah means going and doing something, particularly a mission trip somewhere else to share the gospel. While that is certainly a good thing to do, that would be a superficial interpretation of serving like Sarah.
January 6, 2016
Thank you for speaking to me through your Word today. I want to especially pray a prayer of thanksgiving today. I want to thank you for dying for me. I owe a debt I can never repay. Thank you for giving me your Word which gives me what I need to hear whenever I open it. Thank you for your constant provision. Thank you for Anita Dittman’s story. It strengthened my faith and made me appreciate you even more. And the one thing I want to ask for today is for help to walk as a child of the light. I think that sums up everything else I could ask for. Thank you again, Lord. I love you. In Jesus name, amen.
~ Sarah Harmening
Sarah had deep and abiding love for the Lord that flowed out of a clear understanding of her sinfulness and the magnitude of His redemption through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Sarah’s service flowed out of a heart of surrender to Him. She understood what it was to be a bondservant of the Lord and she longed to serve Him fully. Her service was not a legalistic response to a “to do” list, but rather the natural overflow of an intimate relationship with Him. Before you can “serve like Sarah” you must “surrender like Sarah.”
She mentioned Anita Dittman in her journal above, Anita’s autobiography, Trapped in Hitler’s Hell, was one of her favorite books. Sarah wrote elsewhere about it, “He [God] used Anita Dittman, a seventeen year old Jewish Christian, and put her in a terrible situation so that she could be a light for the prisoners that had no hope.” How poetic that Sarah was so moved and encouraged by God’s use of a seventeen year old girl in a tragic situation to be a light for those who had no hope. In our culture the meaning of the word “hope” has been distorted, but thankfully Sarah understood it in its Biblical context. Our hope is not a slight possibility but is instead a certainty, a promise from the mouth of God – hope does not disappoint.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 [NASB]
Sarah’s certain hope was firmly rooted in who God is, what He has done and all He has promised. She loved Him deeply because He first loved her. Her knowledge of His love for her compelled her heart of surrender to Him. Her heart of surrender created a longing for intimate relationship with Him. A longing for intimacy with Him drove her to prolonged periods of seeking Him through His Word and prayer. The overflow of that deep and abiding relationship with Him was the love and service that others saw or are now seeing in her. I hope you will accept the challenge to “serve like Sarah”, but before you can successfully do so you must “surrender like Sarah.”
Sarah’s heart repeatedly cried out to Him to make her a “child of the light.” She wanted to be like Anita Dittman, she wanted to be a light for the prisoners who have no hope. I confidently rejoice in God’s gracious answer to her prayer as she now stands before us all as a blazing beacon of Hope.
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 [NIV]