Tuesday, September 7, 2010
"I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do." -- Corrie ten Boom
Over this past week, any time I've had a spare moment, I have been reading, "The Hiding Place" by Resistance heroine and Nazi concentration camp survivor, Corrie ten Boom. I had always heard various quotes and excerpts from this book, but am sorry to say I'd never read the whole book through. I am still not finished, but along the way in the reading, I have been stunned and amazed at Corrie's insights.. into human nature.. into faith itself.
One of the things about the book that has really struck me so far, is Corrie's memories of her childhood experiences, and how, looking back, the insights and knowledge she gained from her father were preparing her for what was to come in the dark days ahead.
Corrie's father, Casper ten Boom, always seemed to find that perfect balance between wanting to impart knowledge and insight to his young daughter, and also wanting to protect her innocence as long as possible, and never pass on more than she is ready for at that moment.
For example, when young Corrie asks her father a question about "sex sins" (which she'd read in a poem), his reply was just beautiful. They were traveling on a train, and he picks up his (very heavy) suitcase and asks her if she could carry it off the train for him. When she replies that it is too heavy for her, this is what he says:
"Yes.. and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."
I loved his answer...truthful, yet never giving his young daughter more than she could handle.
Later on, Corrie sees a baby that has died, and is quietly upset for the rest of the day. That evening as her father comes up to tuck her in and say goodnight, she bursts into tears and tells him that he can't ever die because she needs him so much. She is terrified that all those she loves-- her father, mother, sister, are going to die and she can't stop thinking about it.
So gently, once again, her father asks her a question:
"Corrie... when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?"
"Why, just before we get on the train."
"Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things, too. Don't run ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need--just in time."
I was thinking of Corrie and her father today, as I was driving. For a long holiday weekend, my mind was especially weighed down with some family issues that my extended family is facing. Above and beyond extremely challenging health and healthcare issues, there are deep-seated emotional hurts and much frustration on all sides. It was just one of those situations that seems never-ending.. seems hopelessly beyond repair. And I was driving with my daughters to visit some of the parties involved. Though I was praying, I could not seem to shake the cold feeling of dread this afternoon. I just kept praying that God would see us through.
About this time, I heard the first strains of a familiar song that I hadn't heard in a while.. so I turned up the radio. God spoke so clearly to me through this song today, that I wanted to share it below, in the hopes that it could encourage at least one other person out there.
I know, just as Corrie faced with the Nazis.. some dark days are ahead. I can feel it in my bones, as a Christian. I know that many of you out there are probably sensing the same. I just wanted to remind all of us, myself included, that "there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still" (a quote from Corrie's sister in the concentration camp). We know the ending of this Story. Evil does not triumph in the end. And God never gives us more than we can handle in any given moment.
If you are feeling hopeless about a situation in your life... hold fast. More help than any of us can ever imagine..... is on the way.
"Hold Fast"- MercyMe
To everyone who's hurting
To those who've had enough
To all the undeserving
That should cover all of us
Please do not let go
I promise there is hope
Help is on the way
He's come to save the day
What I've learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast
Will this season ever pass?
Can we stop this ride?
Will we see the sun at last?
Or could this be our lot in life?
Please do not let go
I promise you there's hope
You may think you're all alone
And there's no way that anyone could know
What you're going through
But if you only hear one thing
Just understand that we are all the same
Searching for the truth
The truth of what we're soon to face
Unless someone comes to take our place
Is there anyone?
All we want is to be free
Free from our captivity, Lord
Here He comes