Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Was it possible that this - all of this that seemed so wasteful and so needless - this war, this prison, this very cell, none of it was unforeseen or accidental? Could it be part of the pattern first revealed in the Gospels? Hadn’t Jesus been defeated as utterly and unarguably as our little group and our small plans had been?

“But if the Gospels were truly the pattern of God’s activity, then defeat was only the beginning. I would look around at the bare little cell and wonder what conceivable victory could come from a place like this.”
From The Hiding Place
by Corie ten Boom

Whereas Anne Frank had been in hiding, Corie ten Boom was one of those special individuals who hid families like the Franks. And Corie was also caught. After a horrific time in several concentration camps, Corie was released by the Nazis shortly before the end of the war. It was through a paperwork glitch that she gained her freedom and was able to share her incredible story.

Through it all, she kept the faith that God had a reason for allowing these appalling things to happen. And she prayed to God for strength for herself and for forgiveness for her captors. Even when she was bone-thin, covered in lice and open sores, unable to hardly lift her head, she kept that faith.

How is that possible? I complain about the tiniest thing - the constant pain in my arm, car repairs we can’t afford, a computer that died, my job. I have an arm that feels pain - I could be an amputee. I have a car to drive even if I can’t always pay to get it fixed. Did I really survive before computers were invented? Can’t I just be grateful to have a job?

It is so easy to whine, to think that we are truly suffering. But if we say, “we don’t have it that bad, someone else has it worse”, how is that fair? Why should anyone have to suffer? Or then my favorite is “God doesn’t hand you something you can’t handle”. If that were the case, why do people commit suicide?

Again there is no easy answer. I don’t even have the difficult answer. How do we attain the faith that Corie ten Boom had, a faith that allowed her, in massive pain and suffering, to pray for the people who had done this to her?

Maybe I will figure it out by next week and will let you know then. Stay tuned.

The picture is a picture of a picture Val took at Dachau, when she was in Germany two years ago.

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