During WWII, thousands of England’s country houses were requisitioned by the government or lent by their owners for use as barracks, homes for evacuees, schools, hospitals, storage locations for artwork, military headquarters and training facilities, and even prisoner-of-war camps. Unfortunately, the occupation of these manors came at great sacrifice. A huge number of them were significantly damaged by their wartime occupants, and over a thousand of these ancestral homes had to be demolished due to irreparable devastation.
Fire was a common hazard at the time, and dozens burned to the ground. In other cases, pipes burst, ceilings collapsed, staircases and paneling were chopped up for firewood, paintings used as dart boards, jeeps and armored vehicles driven into lakes, graffiti carved or painted on all kinds of surfaces, windows smashed, and statues beheaded. Because of the extent of the damage, many requisitioned homes were never privately lived in after the war. Some owners couldn’t afford to repair them or were too discouraged to consider the task.
Most reports indicate that owners willingly gave up their houses. They wanted to “do their bit” to defeat Hitler and the other Axis powers. Would they have been so eager if they had known what would happen to their ancestral homes?
As Christians, we’re requisitioned by God. When we accept Jesus as our Lord, God claims us as his children and provides for us. As his disciples we are called to a variety of tasks, and we should respond with a willing heart, but it’s not easy, is it? We want to know what’s going to happen. We’re hesitant to “go all in” until we understand the consequences or the possible outcomes. We may balk if we perceive the situation is not in our best interest or there may be negative results.
But that’s not what faith is about. Faith is stepping out with the assurance that God has things in control. Faith is setting aside our own human desires and following God’s desire. Faith is handing over our house “lock, stock and barrel,” so God can use it to his glory.
“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:5 (NASB)
Linda Shenton Matchett
With a BA in Psychology and Masters in Human Resource Management, Linda Matchett has had a wide and varied career as a crisis counselor, HR generalist, B&B owner and youth center director. She is currently the Front of House, Snackbar & Catering Manager at Brewster Academy. A journalist and blogger, she has written for numerous online and print publications. An author of Christian contemporary and historical fiction, Linda is also a a motivational speaker. Available topics include Life on the (WWII) Home Front, Wartime Baking, Women in the (WWII) Workforce, The Writer’s Life, God in the Workplace, The Proverbs 31 Gal: The Woman We Love to Hate, and Ruth: Lessons from a Foreigner. Linda is a member of First Baptist Church Wolfeboro where she sings in the choir and serves as Church Treasurer and a member of the Fellowship Team.
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