I love biographies. There is nothing like reading a good biography to put everything back in perspective.
The Hiding Place, written by Corrie Ten boon is a hard read in that the suffering was great, but the testimony of God’s faithfulness shines ever so bright in the darkness. This is a Corrie Ten boon quote:
“You will never know that Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have.”
In The Hiding Place,Corrie writes how her family was captured by the Nazi’s, and were taken away as prisoners for hiding Jewish people during World War II.
Corrie was taken into a cell of solitary confinement, for endless amounts of time, stripped of everything- but incredably enough, before that moment of confinement God was present in a nurse, who only had seconds but asked Corrie, “Quick! Is there any way I can help you?”
Corrie’s quick response, “Yes, Oh yes! A Bible! Could you get me a Bible? And -a needle and thread! And a toothbrush! And soap!”
Well, later Corrie did receive 2 small ‘precious’ bars of soap and not an entire Bible, but little Books of the Gospels,(Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Her words:
“I stepped inside. The door clanged behind me. The bolt was slammed shut…six steps long, two wide, a single cot at the back…I must not let my thoughts run wildly; I must be very mature and very practical. Six steps. Sit down on the cot. This one reeked even worse than the other: he straw seemed to be fermenting. I reached for the blanket: someone had been sick on it. I thrust it away…at that moment the light bulb in the ceiling went out… the cell was bitter cold, wind hammered against the wall…in the morning my fever was worse.”
But God was with her, remember, she had the gospels, the Good News. Here is what she writes:
“As my health returned, I was able to use my eyes longer. I had been sustaining myself from my Scriptures a verse at a time; now like a starving man I gulped entire gospels at a reading, seeing whole magnificent drama of salvation.
And as I did, an incredible thought pricked the back of my neck. Was it possible that this – all of this that seemed so wasteful and so needless – this war, Scheveningen prison, this very cell, none of it was unforeseen or accidental? Could it be part of the pattern first revealed in the Gospels? Hadn’t Jesus – and here my reading became intent indeed – hadn’t Jesus been defeated as utterly and unarguably as our little group and our small plans had been?
But…if the Gospels were truly the pattern of God’s activity, then defeat was only the beginning. I would look around at the bare little cell and wonder what conceivable victory could come from a place like this. “(pg. 139, The Hiding Place)
Did you know that 4 months later, Corrie had a trial with a Lieutenant Rahms, with his true National Socialistic mentality remarked about their humanitarian efforts: “What a waste of time and energy! “If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!”
After reading the gospels for 4 months and keeping company with a few ants that came to eat crumbs through a crack in her cell, here is Corries response to a Nazi Lieutenant: “The truth , Sir,” …”is that God’s viewpoint is sometimes different from ours – so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things.”
Did you know that instead of getting into more trouble, the following morning this Nazi Lieutenant himself unlocked her cell door and escorted her to her hearing.
She writes Lieutenant Rahms words, “I could not sleep last night, thinking about that Book where you have read such different ideas. What else does it say in there?”
“On my closed eyelids the sun glimmered and blazed, “It says,” I began slowly, “that a Light has come into this world, so that we need no longer walk in the dark. Is there darkness in your life, Lieutenant?”
There was a very long silence.
“There is great darkness,” he said at last. “I cannot bear the work I do here.”
Corrie continues, after the Lieutenant spoke of his fear for his family in Bremen, she said,“There is One Who has them always in His sight, Lietenant Rahms. Jesus is the Light the Bible shows me, the Light that can shine even in such darkness as yours.”
There are many, many great testimonies in this book. God was at work, in such a horrible place. I am sure, even though many lives were lost on this earth, they did not perish, because they believed on the One that God had sent. I am sure they heard His words, “today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Today we must have courage to share the truth and to love in this often dark and difficult world.
Corrie Ten Boon:“When the train goes through a tunnel and the world gets dark, do you jump out? Of course not! You sit still and trust the engineer to get you through…”
I simply love Corrie Ten boon. Don’t you?