Monday, July 1, 2013
Jesus Is Our Hiding Place
I recently finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
Before you think this is just another boring book review for a book you either can't afford or won't have time to read, I want to do much more than just review this book, here.
I want to share with you the fruit of the story, the fruit of the life lived that caused the story to be written in the first place. I want you to taste it and be nourished by it, even if only enough to cause your eyes to open a little wider.
For those of you who don't know, The Hiding Place is the story of Corrie ten Boom, a woman who survived life in a Nazi concentration camp for hiding Jews in her home.
She and her sister Betsie were in their fifties and living with their father, a watchmaker in Holland when they began their work in the Dutch National Underground.
They actually went to the extreme of having a special hiding place constructed in their home, behind a false wall in Corrie's bedroom. They held practice drills routinely, to prepare in the event of a raid by the Gestapo.
Corrie, Betsie and their father were all arrested together but only Corrie survived to walk free less than one year later, due only to a clerical error, or what we as Christians know as "the grace of God."
One week later, all the female prisoners her age were exterminated.
While in prison, though it was illegal, Corrie managed to get her hands on a small Bible and managed to keep it hidden throughout her imprisonment, even though she used it daily.
After leaving solitary confinement, she read it aloud to the other prisoners, many of whom died with the name of Jesus on their lips, shortly after surrendering their lives to Him.
Through challenge after challenge, from strip searches to supervised showers, Corrie depended on God to protect her from being caught with that Bible. And protect her He did! Even when only the impossible would save her, the impossible came through.
I'm crying as I write this and I can't even wipe my eyes because I have to keep writing, the way Corrie had to keep tramping the world for the Lord after she was set free from prison.
Because I know that God of impossibilities.
It's so amazing. He has shown me time and time again that when we trust Him for impossibilities, He delivers. It's what He seems to live for when it comes to His children.
I was naturally captivated by Corrie's story, and though I tried to read it like a writer, slowly, carefully, watching verbs and metaphors and taking notes, I often found myself carried out of my living room and into the mind of this intriguingly faithful woman.
I found myself unable to notice the words on the page for the images in my mind and the sobbing (and even wailing) they often induced.
The horrors and atrocities Corrie witnessed were enough to shake the faith of any human being sane enough to function, yet she found a deeper meaning to the term "hiding place."
Jesus is indeed our hiding place. (Psalm 119:114)
That's not just a sweet metaphor. For those who live it, it is absolute reality. It's as simple and straight forward as the letters on this page.
Even more so. Because it's a fact that remains no matter how the world around us changes.
The words on this page can disappear. They can be deleted. The Internet could even cease to exist. But the hiding place that the Lord gives to those who love Him will always be there.
Ironically, I used to believe that Psalm 119 was a description of the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
What a breakthrough it was for me to be able to see that Psalm through the eyes of one who loves His law rather than one who rejects it in favor of the chains of occult deception.
There are many different kinds of prisons in life, but the most destructive kind is the spiritual kind. In most other kinds of prisons, you know you're trapped there.
Even alcoholics and drug addicts will tell you they are in a prison with their slavery to substance. But in a spiritual prison, you don't even have any desire to get free. You think you already are.
The greatest miracle God did in my life was to show me I was in a spiritual prison. To open my eyes and let me see that I was not free. I was a slave to the one who wanted to destroy my soul.
Jesus removed my chains. That's what it means to be in Christ Jesus.
And when He truly becomes our hiding place, we are free wherever we are. Even in a Nazi concentration camp.
One of the most profound things about Corrie's story is what happened to her after she began her ministry. After one particular speaking engagement, a man walked up to her and thanked her for her ministry because he himself had come to Jesus and received forgiveness for his sins.
When she looked into his eyes, she recognized them. This was the same man who had stood in a guard uniform and mocked her and her sister's emaciated bodies as they were forced to stand naked for inspections, repeatedly.
He asked her forgiveness and extended his hand to shake hers. She could not lift her own.
But Jesus could. And He did. Proving that in everything, even in the things that God requires of us, He is always all we need.
She had to ask Him first, though. As she stood there struggling with her pain, she asked Jesus to help her forgive, and suddenly, forgiveness flooded through her heart for that man who had been so cruel. And she was able to shake his hand.
All we need to do is turn to Jesus. Depend on Him. Trust in Him.
That is what He wants from us most of all. It delights His heart so much when we trust in Him for all we need, for everything from the breath of life to forgiveness in our hearts for others.
You might be wondering, "What about her sister and father who died? Where was God for them?"
To that I would say: You need to read the book.
You need to be humbled like Corrie was by her sister, who is the one that taught her how to love like Jesus did.
You need to be broken by the atrocities they faced and worse - by the hate Corrie discovered even in her own heart.
You need to see how, for each and every one of us, God in His wisdom and mercy gives us exactly what we need.
Look at Corrie's face. Look at that joy. That is the face of a woman who knows the heart of Jesus. That is joy. Joy. The kind of happiness that doesn't leave, no matter the circumstances. Even when you're living in a concentration camp full of lice and fleas and disease and death.
You can have joy. Even in the midst of suffering.
There is joy waiting for you.
Seek to know His heart. His heart longs to envelop you. To enfold you in Him.
When you make Him your hiding place, He truly gets to be your everything. And when He gets to be your everything, you need for nothing, anymore.
No wonder there will be no more crying in His kingdom.
He is there.
We need nothing more. Corrie ten Boom proved it. And I pray you and I prove it too.