“What fools are we to frown upon our afflictions. They are not indeed for our pleasure, they are for our profit.”
Can that possibly be true? We believe so, but if you have your doubts then consider the testimony of Corrie ten Boom. She was from Holland and was in her 50’s when WWII broke out. The ten Booms were a devout Christian family, and had provided a hiding place in their home for persecuted Jews during World War II. The Nazis arrested her and her family sending them to concentration camps, and in those camps her father and her dear sister Betsie would die. Corrie was fifty-nine at the time of her arrest, and was placed in an isolation cell for the first few weeks of her imprisonment. Eventually, she was placed in Barracks 28. It was there that she had smuggled in a New Testament. Listen to her words,
“Before long we were holding clandestine Bible study groups for an ever growing group of believers, and Barracks 28 became known throughout the camp as ‘the crazy place, where they hope.’”
“The school of life offers some difficult courses, but it is in the difficult class that one learns the most—especially when your teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
On December 28, 1944, Corrie ten Boom was released from the Nazi death camp Ravensbruck on account of an error with the prison paperwork. For the remainder of her life she traveled extensively, speaking in more than sixty countries, captivating audiences with her inspiring faith and love for God. She penned nine books, one of which is The Hiding Place, a personal account of her arrest and time spent in prison.
Here again are her words: “
God has plans—not problems—for our lives. Before she died in Ravensbruck, my sister Betsie said to me, ‘Corrie, your whole life has been training you for the work you are doing here in prison—and for the work you will do afterward.’
“The life of a Christian is an education for higher service…Looking back across the years of my life, I can see the working of a divine pattern, which is the way of God with His children. When I was in a prison camp in Holland during the war, I often prayed, ‘Lord, never let the enemy put me in a German concentration camp.’ God answered ‘no’ to that prayer. Yet in the German camp, with all its horror, I found many prisoners who had never heard of Jesus Christ. If God had not used my sister Betsie and me to bring them to Him, they would never have heard of Him. Many died, or were killed, but many died with the name of Jesus on their lips. They were well worth all our suffering.”
You can be sure that there was a time when Corrie ten Boom wondered why God would allow her to be arrested after she had risked her life to rescue persecuted Jews. Why had God allowed her to witness such naked horror and unspeakable atrocities? You read her words, she understood the reason. Through her life and ministry thousands upon thousands have been led to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Nazis meant it for evil. God meant it unto good. She made the most of evil circumstances; souls were saved, and God was glorified.
The truth is that more spiritual progress is made through failure and tears than success and laughter. Notice that we did not say that all spiritual progress comes via trials. We said more. God’s will is “good, and acceptable, and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Therefore it is good and right to trust God in dark circumstances and in those terrible circumstances make the most of it.
This month examine the Biblical accounts of Joseph, or the Apostle Paul, or Jesus. Examine their faith in the midst of life’s trials. Examine your own faith, and understand that suffering, trials, difficulties, and testing are all used by God to…
- Develop us
- Bring us to maturity
- Teach us humility
- Test our faith