Sietske Postma had just finished her training to become an elementary school teacher when the Nazi army invaded her country of Holland. Sietske lived in a small country village with her father, Djoerd, a woodworker, and her younger brother.
Though they were not politically active, the family was shocked by those in their town who viewed Nazi control as a desirable thing and even more shocked by those who enlisted in the German army or became supporters of the Nazi party.
Initially, the Germans interfered little in the lives of the people of Holland. As the war continued, though, the Nazis instituted their cruel program of Jewish identification, deportation, and eventual extermination.
One day when the Postma family walked through the entrance to their little country town, they found a sign had been posted which read “DOGS AND JEWS FORBIDDEN.”
Word quickly spread that anyone who attempted to stand in the way of the Nazis’ efforts to eliminate the Jews would suffer the same fate as the Jews.
Devout Christians, Sietske and her family prayed fervently for God to intervene in the situation.
On a crisp March evening in 1943, the pastor of a local church paid the Postma family a visit. After tea and sweets were served and small talk was made, the pastor’s face became serious. “I want to tell you the real reason for my stopping by tonight,” he said in a sober, hushed tone.
The three faces of the Postma family stared in puzzlement.
“I was wondering if you would consider taking in someone,” he said slowly.
That someone, of course, was a Jew. A person to be hidden from, not only snooping Gestapo agents, but even from the Postmas’ neighbours. A person to be fed, clothed, entertained—but never revealed. A person whose mere presence in the home could result in a trip to the gas chamber or a bullet to the head.
The Postmas knew that saying yes to this request would change their family forever. They knew they would have to live with caution, subterfuge, anxiety, and even terror as the Postma house would certainly be searched more than once by Nazi soldiers.
Without hesitation Djoerd Postma said, “Yes.”
“How about a Jewish girl?” the pastor asked.
Djoerd looked at his daughter, Sietske, who quickly replied, “Yes!”
The Postmas never felt it was their pastor asking them to risk their lives, but that it was the voice of God.
Because they said yes, 22-year-old Nurit Hegt lived with them until the fall of Germany in 1945. Because they said yes, Nurit, the only surviving member of her family, grew to adulthood and eventually moved to Israel, where she married and raised a family.
Because the Postmas said yes, Tree E-37 was planted in their memory on the Avenue of Righteousness in the city of Jerusalem.
What is God calling you to do? Are you willing to say yes? It may cost you your friends. It may cost you some popularity. It may cost you things you value highly. It may cost you your life.
But when you say yes to God, you can be assured that your life will take on new meaning and purpose. And you will not be alone. When Jesus gave His disciples His great commission to go and make disciples, He told them, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). He did not spare them from persecution or death, but He enabled them to change the course of history. Because they said yes, we have the good news that leads to eternal life.
The Christian life is more than willingness to do what Jesus asks us to do-it is costly obedience. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).
Can you say yes to that?