That trial you’re in? Here’s what it means.

She said it and she ought to know. Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch watchmaker during WWII, helped her family hide Jews from the advancing Nazis. However, the ten Booms were betrayed by a friend. The Gestapo snatched Corrie, along with her father and sister, Betsy, from their home and imprisoned them.

Her father died ten days after his arrest. Half-starved and treated cruelly, Betsy died months later. At the one-year mark, due to an administrative blunder, Corrie was released. Skin and bones. Lice-ridden. Unrecognizable. But free.

And she lived happily ever after in the safety of her small Dutch village. Right?

Wrong.

After Ravensbruck, Corrie ten Boom was a different woman. She knew she’d been delivered by God for a purpose. “I was no longer my own. I knew that God would soon be sending me out as a tramp for the Lord.”

For decades she traveled the world sharing her story and a message of forgiveness and trust in a loving God. Corrie ministered to prisoners in Africa, to terrorized Christians in Muslim countries, to Russians under communism, and to post-war citizens in Germany, including one of her most brutal former guards.

In Tramp for the Lord she recounts her first week in New York:

“…after wandering around the city in a rather helpless daze, I went downstairs in the YWCA to pay my bill. The clerk looked at me sympathetically. “I am sorry, but our accommodations are so restricted that we cannot allow you to stay here any longer. One week is our limit. Do you have a forwarding address?”

“Yes. I just don’t know what it is, yet.”

“I don’t understand,” she said, perplexed.

“God has another room for me,” I explained. “He just hasn’t told me what the address is. But I am not worried. He led me through Ravensbruck. He will surely see me through America as well.”

Suddenly, the clerk remembered. ”By the way, a letter came for you.”

Miraculously, in that letter a woman she did not know, but who had heard her speak, offered Corrie a room.

Corrie says it this way:

Every experience God gives us is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see.

The life-and-death kind of trust she learned in the concentration camp prepared her for worldwide ministry. “Don’t bother to give God instructions; just report for duty,” she told her audiences.

What does Corrie want us to understand? Our current affliction means something. It’s preparation. We’ll come through a different person.

What kind of trouble are you facing? Unemployment? A medical diagnosis? Addiction? Abandonment? Depression? God will see you through. On the other side of our trials waits greater freedom, deeper trust in God, and increased clarity as to His purposes for our lives.

We can ask,
How do you want to change me, God?
What may I see and understand about your ways?

And pray,
Strengthen my trust in you, God…
I’m reporting for duty.

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For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39.

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photo credit: cynicalview @flickr.com (creative commons)

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Also see this post about Corrie’s final years: What can we count on?

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