I have a hero. Her name is Corrie ten Boom. You've most likely heard of her--she and her family hid Jews in their home in Holland before being arrested at age 50 by the Nazis. She spent the next two years in a concentration camp and was miraculously released after the death of her father and sister.
You would think that would be enough of her story. She hid Jews. She was in Ravensbruck, a concentration camp where more than 96,000 women died. She shared the Gospel and had Bible studies in secret and saw miracles even in the middle of such evil.
Yet, when she was released, she began to travel the world to tell people about God's love and mighty forgiveness for them. For the next three decades she traveled to over sixty countries!
I read her book, Tramp for the Lord (the sequel to The Hiding Place) last month and I cannot get the stories out of my head. Corrie's life was marked by quick obedience to God and through her simple, direct words and actions God did miracles.
Once, she felt the Lord telling her to go to Argentina. She had never been to Argentina. She only vaguely knew one person in the country who had not returned any of her letters. Oh, and she didn't speak the language, either!
But go to Argentina, she did. As she and her assistant were sitting on a bench outside the Buenos Aires airport, a man shouted to her, "Are you Corrie ten Boom?" in her native tongue! He felt like he needed to come check the airport and see if she was there--even though they had never been in contact before!
The next day, he arranged for her to visit with patients in a nearby hospital. The patients had polio and were either in iron lungs or giant tables that shifted the patient upside down to enable breathing.
Corrie was scared of them and didn't even want to talk to them. She said, "No, I think I am unable to talk. I just want to go off somewhere and cry."
Then the Lord spoke to her, "I know you can't. I have known it already a long time. I am glad now you know it for yourself for now you can let Me do it."
She said, "All right, Lord, You do it." and she began to speak to a Jewish man on one of the rocking tables. She showed him some of her embroidery from her purse (oh, I wish we carried embroidery around in our purses instead of phones!). On one side was stitched a crown, the other the knots and strings of the back.
She told him our lives can look like this--knotted, dark and confused on one side but God has order, pattern and beauty on the other. That man gave his heart to Jesus before he died the very next day.
Corrie said she felt she came to Argentina for that one conversation, for that one man. It's hard to understand. There wasn't anyone one else in the whole country--or the whole continent that could talk to him? Why Corrie? Why an old Dutch woman? Why not someone who at least spoke his language?
I'm sure we'll never know why. It's one of those dark knots on the backside of our lives. And when I look at my own life--as a mom dealing with normal everyday kid and school and church and family issues--I know the feeling of wanting to go off somewhere and cry. I feel very inadequate for many tasks God has put before me.
What a relief to know God already knows I'm inadequate! He simply wants to work through me. Not because I'm the most qualified, speak the right language or even live on the right continent. The only qualification is my willingness.
I may not become a tramp for the Lord and travel the world, but I can obey where I am. I can stop trying so hard to do, and be and work in my own strength. Instead, I can simply let God work through me and be part of the divine pattern, the beautiful embroidery God has for me and for the world!
(all quotes taken from Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom)
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