I just finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom a couple nights ago. Already I wish this wasn't a library book. This is one to own, and reread, and mark up, and ponder, and discuss.
My heart desires to be like Corrie's sister, Betsie. Both sisters are amazing in their bravery and their dedication to follow Christ, putting themselves in extreme danger over and over and over again to follow Him. Corrie blessed and saved many lives, and then, after Corrie and Betsie were imprisoned by Nazi Germany, they continued to turn to Christ under every condition. Under months and months of solitary confinement, to a work camp in Germany where they were pushed to and past their physical limits with very little food, sleeping on stacks of flea infested bunk-beds. Under all of the situations they were put in, they shared the good news. They shared the gospel. And Betsie, even while being mocked and prodded because she was on the verge of death from the conditions, had no malice for her captures. She was sad for them. She prayed for them. She prayed for them to know that love is stronger than hate and that Christ died for their sins.
Corrie shared such a powerful story of meeting with one of her jailers years after the war, and praying in the moment for her Savior to help her forgive this man.
"As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder, along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
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." (p 231)
Through their unimaginable trials, these women really gained the gift of charity. It is beyond our mortal capacity, it is not ours. It is Christ's. I think about things that I've read that could happen in the last days....that will happen, whether during my life or later....could I love those that bring plagues to our country possibly on purpose, if I see those plagues kill loved ones all around me? Could I love and pray for people who are putting us under captivity? Do I pray now for those leaders in our country whose actions and choices I disagree with, or for perpetrators of awful crimes and not only the victims and their families? Betsie was truly free of judgement. She saw all people as they are, children of God. She saw them with His eyes, and loved them.
I love books that make me want to be a better person, that make me think of ways that I can do that. We don't always know which books those will be, but this is one. I am so thankful to this woman, Corrie Ten Boom that gave so much to share the wisdom of her lifetime. What a powerful lifetime it was.
When she would speak publicly later in her life she would use an analogy with a flashlight. "She would throw the switch, and when the light failed to shine, she exclaimed, 'Is there no light in your life?' She unscrewed the end of the flashlight. 'Invite Jesus into your life!' She pushed a heavy battery into the flashlight. The light failed to shine. Her audience was startled. 'What's wrong?' she asked, echoing their surprise. She removed the battery. 'What is this?' She pulled out a rag. 'Pride!' She pulled out another rag. 'Envy!' She pulled out another. 'Love of money!' Finally, she would slide in the battery again. The flashlight beamed brilliant bright."
Christ wants to teach us. He wants to heal us. Are we listening? Are we allowing Him to shape us? What is He wanting to teach you right now? Ask Him.