In addition to listening to books with Madilynn, I also enjoy listening to books on my way to and from my vendor events. I typically pick a self-development type book or something completely frivolous and entertaining (my music playlist is equally ecclectic). Occasionally, I pick a novel or narrative. Most recently, I listened to The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie was a watchmaker and clock repair specialist, like her father and grandfather and was the first female in this occupation. For that reason, I’ve chosen clocks all over Europe and England for my graphics.
As I listened to her story unfold, I remembered touring a concentration camp and could see what she was describing. I also found myself saying, “This should be required reading for everyone.” Wherever you land politically, you likely agree that Nazi Germany was “bad” and the execution of six million Jews was “wrong.” When you read first-hand accounts, you learn that the “occupation” was subtle at first, with small ways to control the population. Corrie and her family saw these subtleties with concern and took a stand – some of them paid with their lives. Corrie not only survived, but lived to tell her story in sixty-four countries!
When we come through a challenge, we are often tempted to think it has everything to do with our talents or abilities. In reality, only the grace of God pulls us through. He loves and forgives in ways beyond our imagination and comprehension. Our own forgiveness is reliant on our willingness to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean the offender gets a free pass. Forgiveness means releasing the hold of anger or bitterness and giving the offense (and offender) over to God. We, human beings, are not capable of changing others. Only God has that power.
Corrie and her sister, Betsy, endured terrible conditions. Darkness, bitter cold, illness, and pests were part of their every day life. They had one Bible between them (because Betsy had given hers away page by page at their first detainment camp). Each day, they feared it would be discovered and they would be in more trouble. Every day, they were surprised that they weren’t closely searched. They later learned the guards would not enter their quarters due to the flees. Betsy said, “Thank God for the flees!” This extreme example shows us that we CAN be thankful in all circumstances and share God’s light even in the darkest places.
Sometimes, we are given an insight that can only be explained by Providence. In those times, remembering that God holds the past, present, and future in His hands. When we are given such a gift, it’s best to rely on His wisdom to continue to show the way.
Our perspective and understanding is finite. If you imagine a rope with one end tied in a knot and that rope stretches around the world, that’s still only a piece of the big picture. God sees all of eternity, from before the beginning into the infinite future. We must continuously study His word and rely on His strength.
Another story Corrie tells is one of traveling with her father to check the automic clock. While seated next to her father in the train compartment, she suddenly asked, “Father, what is sexsin?” “He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor. Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning. It’s too heavy,” I said. “Yes,” he said, “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.”
This powerful illustration offers us freedom. We don’t have to walk through the trials alone or carry our burdens without assistance. In fact, our Father is willing to take all of our baggage and set us free!
Nothing we go through or experience surprises God.He knows what we need before we ask and prepares the way for us in advance. While God does not make bad things happen, He does use them for His glory. How many lives in those sixty-four countries were changed by Corrie’s story? How many lives might YOUR story impact?