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Friday, July 23, 2010

The Hiding Place

When we hear the words Nazi Germany most of us cringe and think how could humanity go so wrong.  In the men-st of evil there was a light that shined brightly in the darkness.  It was the light of Corrie Ten Boom,  who risked her life to save the lives of Jews hiding in her family's home.  Her father was a fantastic role model and encouraged his family to do whatever it took to save lives.  One of the helpers was caught by the German Police.  They were in great danger of being raided but they decided they had no choice but to continue with hiding the Jews.  I ask myself the question,  What would I have done?  Do I have the courage?

From the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

"That night Father and Betsie and I prayed long after the others had gone to bed.  We knew that in spite of daily mounting risks we had no choice but to move forward.  This was evil's hour; we could not run away from it.  Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God's power alone be free to work."

Corrie prepared a bag of belongings in case they were caught and had to go quickly to the station.  She called it the prison bag.  When the police finally came she had a choice of taking the bag or perhaps in doing so revealing where the Jews were hiding.  She decided to make the right choice.

" I was about to reach for my prison bag.
Wait.
It stood where I had shoved it in my panic; directly in front of the secret panel. If I were to reach down under the shelf to get it now, with this man watching my every move, might not his attention be attracted to the last place on earth I wanted him to look?
It was the hardest thing I had ever done to turn and walk out of the room, leaving the bag behind.  
I stumbled down the stairs, my knees shaking as much from fear as from flu.
The soldier said,
"Where are the Jews?"
"There aren't any Jews here.
Where do you hide the ration cards?"
"I don't know what you're..."
The soldier hit me again.  I staggered up against the astronomical clock.  Before I could recover he slapped me again, then again, and again, stinging blows that jerked my head backward.
Where are the Jews?
Another blow.
Where is your secret room?
Another blow.
I tasted blood in my mouth.  My head spun, my ears rang - I was losing consciousness.  Lord Jesus, I cried out, protect me!
The soldiers hand stopped in midair.
If you say that name one more time I'll kill you!
But instead his arm slowly dropped to his side. " If you won't talk, that skinny one will."

Then I recalled.
The vision.  The night of the invasion.  I had seen it all. Willem, Nullie, Pickwick, Peter-all of us here -drawn against our wills across this square.  It had all been in the dream-all of us leaving Haarlem, unable to turn back.  Going where?

Thoughts were enemies. That prison bag..how many times I opened it in my mind and pawed through all the things I had left behind.  A fresh blouse.  Aspirin, a whole bottle of them.  Toothpaste with a kind of pepper-minty tast, and--

Then I would catch myself.  How ridiculous, such thought! IF I had it to do again would I really put these little personal comforts ahead of human lives? Of course not.  But in the dark nights, as the wind howled and the fever pulsed, I would draw that bag out of some dark corner of my mind sad root through it once again.  A towel to lay on this scratchy straw. An aspirin..

Corrie was sent to a concentration camp.  She did survive and her testimony has been heard for generations.  In the book she talks about how God let her take her Bible into the camp because as the guard searched through her things he did not find it. She believed an angel hid it. It was so important for her to have her Bible for inspiration.  I thought how many times do I take my Bible for granted.  She told of many more miracles.  But the biggest miracle is; she did not loose her faith in God.  She still thought of Him as her Hiding Place, her source for peace and joy.  She did not give up her trust in Him.  She kept on the path of doing the right thing and God's grace gave her strength to endure the hardships. I think Corrie has a big jewel in heaven for not bringing the prison bag and choosing life.

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