Oftentimes I see quotes on Pinterest by a one Corrie Ten Boom but I have never really given much attention to her person or who she was in life. I always figured she was a lady who loved Jesus deeply and was also a writer. It was not until yester-night that I learnt of her story.
I usually like to purpose Saturday night for a movie and yesterday night I happened to land on a movie that showed her story. The movie is based on one of her books titled “The Hiding Place”. I did not even know that the movie was about her life when I was selecting a movie to watch.
I finished watching the movie at around 12am, and went to bed. However, instead of sleeping, I tossed and turned, and tossed and turned, and tossed and turned…for a while registering what I had just watched.
Watching this movie, opened my eyes to the reality of running the Christian race to win that first prize as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. It brought the reality of what it meant to be faithful and true. And that there existed those beautiful saints of God who regardless of the circumstances, held on to Christ with all their might— even when it didn’t make sense to keep holding.
Watching the story of a lady who had a nice home, lovely family, profitable family business….lose it all for the sake of a love for Jesus and God’s people; in all honesty, made me feel ashamed of my walk with Jesus. I thought of my own reactions to suffering and pain— however little they were, and wondered if supposing God allowed some fierce trials in my life, if I would make it out of them as some of these men and women who stood firm did.
She had just lost everything I would personally categorize as dear if it were me; yet, she praised God still. In the midst of her hard circumstances she trusted in God still. In fact, I can remember the exact words her sister spoke to her while in prison as they carried out manual labour; which were, “God does not make mistakes”.
If it were me, would I utter similar words? My God, I honestly do not know.
I cannot imagine what her and her sister must have gone through under those torturous conditions of prison life. Her anger towards the prison guards kept rising as she wondered whether God had forsaken her and her sister in that place that seemed entirely God-forsaken. Further, having to read from a Bible that taught on love and praying for enemies. Something she couldn’t bring herself to do in as much as she tried.
I also love that they told her story depicting those parts where she struggled to love her enemies despite her many prayers to God to help her. Honestly, if they did not show these parts, I would have felt utterly condemned in my walk with Jesus. Because I struggle to love so many people who do not strike or whip me, how much more these ones?
At some point she was in so much pain and anger, she cried to God and asked Him to remove that hate and replace it with Jesus’s love in her heart.
There is this one quote by A. W. Tozer I once read, that stuck with me (most likely extracted from one of His books).
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
And I see this trend throughout the Bible… from Jacob, to Joseph, to Moses, to Ruth, to Job, to Paul, to Christ and to many children of God.
When a brother or sister in Christ is going through a hard trial, it is honestly hard to watch as they suffer especially because they are God’s children. I will be honest, I often ask God many questions. “Lord, are they not your’s? Heal them, touch them, let the world know that their God is always there for them”. And when the prayer is not answered as I would desire, I despair to the point of silence…. where there are not even words of comfort or encouragement that can be found…. Only a silent calling of His name.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
I don’t know friends. I honestly do not know why God allows some of His precious saints to suffer so deeply.
Just as I also did not understand what God’s purpose was or what He wanted to accomplish through Corrie and Betstie Ten Boom’s lives in the way He orchestrated their lives, but I trust that a mighty work was accomplished not only in that women’s prison but also reaching far beyond those prison walls.
Who knows the number of women in that prison who came to a knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ due to their love and endurance, or, the number of families that were transformed simply because of two women’s love and obedience to Christ.
Through her story, I also recognized that our Christian walks are different and also understood that God had different purposes for our lives. But to emphasize, it is stories like these…. of which many a precious saints of God who endure and are enduring such hard trials and circumstances everyday, that place an even greater burden of prayer on my part.
Again, as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth saying,
1 Corinthians 12:26
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
Admittedly, not having bore that burden faithful even as I write here now, but walking towards that road one step at a time with the help of the Holy Spirit.
To conclude, by no means too, do I desire to be a Corrie Ten boom or a John Wesley’s mother. Because I can only be me. But, would to God, I honour God as deeply, authentically and obediently in my own Christian walk….not caring if anybody is looking— but only God. Not caring for accolades or even the possiblity of ever having a story about my life one day— but only that I stay in that perfect will of the Father; in obedience to Him.
And I leave you with these beautiful words spoken by Betstie Ten Boom to her sister… now added to my wall of favourite quotes.
Because His eye is always on the sparrow!
Thank you for reading!