June 20, 2014

Lord, Give Me a ten Boom Kind of Faith and Love

I had a lot of time on a plane in the last few days, so I spent it reading.  I picked up the book The Hiding Place at a yard sale recently and decided that I'd read that on the plane.  I must confess that, a) I've only heard bits and pieces of Corrie ten Boom's story, but never read the book and didn't know much about her, b) I thought she was Jewish, and c) I thought she was in her twenties at the oldest.  Man, was I way off! I had no idea her crime wasn't being Jewish, but playing an integral part in the underground hiding Jews.  And wonder of all wonders, she was in her 50's!  Never think you're too old to change the world, or at least your world! I also thought this book was all about Corrie.  It really wasn't.  It was about her whole family, but really about how God used each of them, with their own strengths and gifts, at one of the worst times in history.  It's  a story about how God used a concentration camp to reveal Himself and His love to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of women dying in the concentration camps.  Mind.Blown.  And the way they risked their own lives, loved those around them at the risk of death, and the concern and care Betsie had for the Germans who were causing the pain is almost beyond comprehension.  How one person could treat another person that way is unimaginable.  The things they prayed, the people they prayed for, and the wisdom and insight God gave them in the midst of such horrible circumstances was so encouraging to me.  I just had to share the quotes that went straight to my heart.  I hope it encourages you, too.  (And Kevin, if we ever have another girl, her name is going to have to be Cornelia Elizabeth and we will pray she will be as wise, loving, faithful, and God-seeing as these two ladies.)

  • Their mother had tuberculosis and suffered a great deal of pain for most of her life.  This never slowed her down.  Even when she eventually became confined to a bed and couldn't speak (which were all of the last years of her life.)  Corrie said of her mother, "It was astonishing really the quality of life she was able to lead in that crippled body, and watching her during the three years of her paralysis, I made another discovery about love.  Mama's love had always been the kind that acted itself out with soup pot and sewing basket. But now that these things were taken away, the love seemed as whole as before.  She loved the people she saw in the street--and beyond: her love took in the city, the land of Holland, the world.  And so I learned that love is larger than the walls that shut it in."
  • "Love. How did one show it?  How could God Himself show truth and love at the same time in a world like this? By dying. The answer stood out for me sharper and chiller than it ever had before that night: the shape of a Cross etched on the history of the world.
  • After losing one of the young boys working for the underground: "Once again we considered stopping the work. Once again we discovered we could not.  That night Father, Betsie and I prayed long after the others had gone to bed.  We knew that in the spite of the daily mounting risks we had no choice but to move forward.  This was evil's hour: we could not run away from it. Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God's power alone be free to work."
  • Corrie's sister, Betsie, almost took joy in being in the concentration camps, not really even for their ministry for those in the camps, but for the opportunity to love and pray for those running the camps.  "'These young women.  That girl in the back at the bunkers. Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way, you and I, no matter how long it takes...' I realized then she was talking about the guards. I wondered, not for the first time, what sort of person was this sister of mine...what kind of road she followed while I trudged beside her on the all-too-solid earth."
  • "But as the rest of the world grew stranger, one thing became increasingly clear. And that was the reason the two of us were here.  Why others should suffer we were not shown.  As for us, from morning until lights-out, whenever we were not  in ranks for roll call, our Bible was the center of an ever-widening circle of help and hope..The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the Word of God."
  • After learning that prisoners were never released from a concentration camp if they were sick, Corrie started wondering what horrible thing would have happened to Betsie (who was ill and died in the camp) if she had been considered for release.  "There are no 'ifs' in God's kingdom. I could hear her soft voice saying it. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in Your will! Don't let me go mad by poking about outside it."
  • After meeting one of the S.S. officers who had mistreated her at the concentration camp and asking God to help her forgive him (which He did): "And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself. It took a lot of love.
If you haven't read this book, I encourage you to do so!  Oh, Father, give me the strength and faith to love this world in Your name, whatever the cost.  Help me to train up my children to do the same. Protect this world from the crushing hand of Satan.  When trials and hardships come, give us the strength to look to You for our comfort, peace, healing, and protection.

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