Read His Words Before Ours!
Lord Jesus, I offer myself for Your people. In any way. Any place. Any time.
My mind was spinning.
My heart was racing.
My face was dripping with blood and sweat as the solider interrogated me.
Though all six Jews that had been living with us made it safely, quickly, and quietly, into the hiding place behind the wall, my family and I, hadn’t escaped.
I tried to remain calm. I had practiced this scenario over and over with Mr. Smit:
“I have no Jews hidden here.”
“I do not know what you are speaking of.”
“I am not the ring-leader of the underground.”
For every answer they didn’t like, they would retaliate.
This time, a blow to my face with the base of their gun.
When they’d had their fun, the soldiers arrested us and drove us to federal prison. I’d been bedridden for days with influenza before the raid, and was sent to solitary confinement.
I tried to remember the look on my sister, Betsie’s, face before we parted ways. Fragile frame, long dress, and chestnut hair tied in a perfect bun. We’d always been close, and the unknown of whether we’d see one another again, brought tears to my eyes.
My name is Corrie. Corrie Ten Boom.
This hell we found ourselves living in was a far cry from the life we had known together, Betsie, Willem, Nollie, Father, and I.
Father, with his long beard and white pressed shirt that smelled of cigars and coffee. How I longed for one more night around the supper table, laughing without fear, and singing praises to our King.
As I sat in my quarantined cell, I replayed the scene from the raiding Nazis.
I hadn’t been able to grab my “just-in-case prison” bag. It was there by the hiding place where our six friends hid in silence. I feared drawing the soldier’s attention there, so I left it, along with my precious Bible. God, please provide a way to receive your Word.
In the dreadfully dirty cell, my sickness only worsened. I was sent to a hospital where a nurse, whom I realized was a friend, asked if she could help me. I sighed with relief and asked for only one thing. A Bible, though it was a dangerous request.
As I left that afternoon, she slipped four books into my hand.
Hidden inside each was a gospel!
I may have been physically hungry, but it was the first time I felt full in months.
Four months after imprisonment for our Jewish heritage, we learned we were leaving. I was so hopeful and eager to see my family that when we were shuffled outside into the dark of night, empty bellies, with only a pillowcase of belongings, I realized something wasn’t right.
We were going the wrong direction.
We weren’t being released, but transferred.
To a concentration camp.
I felt the breath leave my lungs. God, how am I going to do this?
I shifted my focus for a split second when I saw her. My sweet Betsie, looking more frail than ever, but eyes shining with Jesus.
I waited until no one was looking to maneuver between the other women to touch Betsie’s arm. She didn’t dare look, but quickly grasped my hand, squeezing it, telling me all I needed to know.
We spent days in a train infested with lice and cockroaches, not to mention too many bodies and not enough food. I was used to starving, but this hunger was crippling.
Every so often, I was allowed a turn at the hole in the train door where I could catch a glimpse of light and a breath of fresh air. I used it to read aloud from the tiny Bible, and sang my favorite hymn, Amazing Grace.
It was in concentration camp where I saw miracle after miracle from the Lord. I vitamins in that should’ve only lasted a few days for one person, but seemingly multiplied and helped many women. Our living quarters were crawling with lice, which deterred the guards from checking on us. Which allowed our eleven-hour work days to be filled to the brim with proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus.
As we spoke, the ladies in Barracks 28 would translate the Word from German to French, Polish, Russian, Czech, and Dutch, so all could hear His Truth.
Polish winter was much worse than Holland’s, and our bodies buckled under its intensity. We stole newspaper, wrapping it underneath our clothes to take the bite away from the crippling chill. I found myself falling into deep depression as the days went on. What was God doing in this place? Was He even here?
I was once a brave, vibrant woman and now I couldn’t respond to even the simplest request for fear of a beating.
In these moments I would remind myself that there were no “if’s” in God’s Kingdom.
His timing is perfect. His will was my hiding place.
Sweet Betsie became terribly sick, dying just nine days before our release. She looked so at peace, finally reunited with our deceased Mother, as well as our Father, who had passed away ten days after our arrest.. My heart ached with an unbearable pain, worse than any torture I’d endured.
It was a miracle I was released. I discovered decades later there had been a fluke in the system. One week after my release, the entire barracks had been sent to the gas chamber.
I was humbled that God still had a plan for my life.
Betsie and I dreamt of creating a safe house for those coming out of concentration camps, a place to be loved and cared for, and so as I walked out of the camp that day, I left standing a little bit straighter.
I’d endured much, but I carried Christ inside of me.
He had spared my life, and He wasn’t finished with me yet!
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