Can you imagine, you’re locked in isolation, in a notorious Nazi death camp, no less? Corrie ten Boom spent many days alone, praying; trying to recall the happiest moments of her life, as she faced the inevitable. Yet, one thought filled Corrie’s heart above all—she must share the good news with others there. Good news? Had she been in isolation so long, she had lost her mind?
At night, in the eerie stillness, when the cries and screams of others ceased for too few hours, Corrie found courage in the words of a little book that hung from her neck.
Corrie and her sister Betsie would read the little book—an underground Bible, secreted into the prison—to other prisoners, to encourage them also. Though still a great mystery to many of them, the words in the little book brought comfort and hope; taking all their minds far from the dark images of Ravensbrück prison.
I offer this as a simple parable, praying the actual truths found in the Bible will dawn clearly in some seeking heart.
The Great King
Long ago, a great and powerful king ruled over an indescribably beautiful kingdom. The countless souls there worshiped the king and delighted in all his many wonders. They relished the joyous celebrations and seeing the king in all his splendor.
Love, above all, shone like the sun in that wondrous place; permeating each heart with joy beyond anything one could ask or think. Somehow, the king provided for every need, and his subjects lacked nothing, for all his unending kindness. How he did it, no one knew; neither did any think to question!
How does one describe such a place? The perfect melding of color and light, masterful music and gaiety, afforded a great sense of freedom and belonging. Millions upon millions of souls, with as many gifts and roles to play; each one complementing every other, like a grand symphony.
One day, as the king paced the bright corridors of his kingdom, he began to ponder… Would his subjects grow weary of so much goodness? And what would they choose, if they could go elsewhere and serve another? After all, they had never been given a choice, but to remain with him. So, how would he ever know if they truly loved him, and would not choose otherwise—unless he gave them a choice?
Finally, the great king knew what he must do.
The Mysterious Kingdom
The king would prepare another place; a unique new kingdom, where every soul would be free to make an all-important choice. He would give each one a unique, mortal body to move freely there. Oh, the king would watch over them; with signs to help them remember him. And he would answer, should they call out to him. But the decision must be theirs, each one—to love and return to him; or be lost to him forever.
He named their new home “Adamah,” where they would have everything needed to sustain life beyond his kingdom. First, there must be pure air to breathe, for their new bodies; and livable temperatures. Adamah would be filled with grand music to inspire; ideas to explore and challenge every soul. And above them, the heavens to cause wonder. There would be light and water; green valleys and majestic mountains; plants and trees for food and shade. He would provide a wondrous variety of creatures; livestock to till the ground and supply food and leather and wool for clothing. And there would be elements in abundance, for making tools and building shelters. Everything, except his reigning presence!
The great king would make the mortals much like himself; able to reason and invent—if not to create. They would need strength and wit, and the will to survive where weather and terrain, seasons and vast ideologies would prove a constant challenge. Moreover, they must be mindful of others, beyond their own well-being. “Each life is precious, infinitely valuable to me,” he would assure them.
Of course, there must be certain limits to maintain, so there could be peace and order among all. The rest would be up to them. They must choose; each one.
Journey to Adamah
The king’s heart longed for each beloved soul to choose wisely; although he knew the end of all things. Still, each heart must decide—before time would run out. Yes, each soul would have just so much time on Adamah to solve the mystery of true life as the great king planned it.
First, the king created two mortals who would become the bearers and caretakers of new ones who would come after. Each soul would enter the mysterious, new kingdom as an infant being; male or female, the king decided.
Importantly, once a soul left the great king’s realm, they would have no recollection of the place they had always called home with him. But loving them, he placed in each mortal heart, a deep longing for that goodness he hoped would prove their character and turn them back to him one day.
They would have dominion and stewardship over Adamah and all the other life there. But, the hardest thing to manage, would be their relationships with one another. Unbridled emotions that over-indulged that which was dearest to them, would prove a constant heartache and distraction. And PRIDE would be the mortal enemy of their capacity to love unselfishly and forgive generously.
Beware the Adversary!
Above all, they must overcome the craftiness of a divisive and relentless adversary—a bewitching, ever-lurking and lying spirit, who would covet the place of king over all, if they allowed. Many would be blinded by his deceptions.
Sadly, the great king knew many would be so entranced by the mysterious kingdom, they might choose never to seek him. Many would rebel against any thought of the great king, and work against those who believed. The worst could commit the vilest acts and give rise to wars, as some greedily claimed all power for themselves. Carelessly, some would destroy millions of infant lives struggling to enter the new kingdom.
Still, every soul must have the freedom to choose; even through great tribulation!
Divisions in the New Kingdom
So, it began. And just as the great king had foreseen, many rejected any thought of him. Finally, because of his great heart for them, he decided to become one of them; flesh and blood, living among them. Maybe now they would choose his perfect, unconditional love, over any enticements on Adamah.
But the king foreknew that some would rise up violently to end his life there; not understanding the king had purposed to die, even the most cruel death, to pay for the sins of all. It was those who accepted His sacrifice in their place, those who chose to believe Him after all, that would find eternal life with him.
Sadly, for those who ignored the great king’s invitation, life on Adamah would remain a blur of unanswered questions; a great unsolved mystery. False teachings and strange philosophies; deviant activities and un-kingly pursuits would tempt, where truth and conscience were absent. Many would understand too late, how like a vapor the kingdom called “Adamah” was meant to be!
Yet, while there was still time to believe, the merciful heart of the great king could still be known. And all who chose him found hope and joy; trusting that he would keep his promise, and rescue them one day from the mysterious kingdom of Adamah.
The Valley of Decision
The Bible says, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN CHRIST, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. In Him we have redemption through His shed blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace.”
In the fearsome grip of the godless Nazi regime, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom shared the good news (the gospel) with many facing death in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Many found peace and hope, knowing that by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness and victory over the darkest situations of our lives; even death.
He has given every person on Earth, freedom to choose. We can place our trust in this life only—this temporal and “mysterious kingdom,” with all its allure and deception—to our eternal regret. Or, through faith in Jesus the Christ—Yahshuah, the Messiah—as Lord and Savior; to choose true life with the Great King forever!
The day of the Lord will come, regardless of what one chooses. The important thing is to be right with God before that valley of decision. The choice is ours!
[The Nazis exterminated more than 95,000 women in Ravensbrück prison, and more than six million Jews, during WW2]
I woke early one morning thinking about lyrics to a song I was writing titled, “The Song I Came to Sing,” inspired by a gravestone epitaph I saw years ago.
I was just a young girl then, wandering curiously through an otherwise sunny graveyard, but the words written on the stone left a lasting impact on my life.
It read, “I spent my life stringing and un-stringing my instrument, but the song I came to sing remains unsung.”
I’m a singer, from a family of singers and musicians, and those words still chill me. The person’s last message on earth told of a life that had somehow missed the mark. Whatever his dreams had been were never to be.
I remember thinking then, “I don’t want to end my life someday, not having fulfilled my purpose.” I know now, God has a purpose and a plan for every life!
Reading in St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, I found a note I’d written beside the text at some point… “Live, as if from heaven to Earth; not from the BATTLE, but from the VICTORY!”
Realizing Things Unseen
2 Corinthians 4:18 reads, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Unfortunately, when I read the epitaph on that stone, it would be many years before I discovered my own true “song.” I was so caught up in the things of this broken world then, I felt trapped by life.
I couldn’t see that all the “truth” I had ever believed about God, and almost everything else, was A BIG FAT LIE!
Thankfully, God gave my soul a song to sing, March 4, 1984. Now, in the years since my heart and life were changed so dramatically, I can understand those words I wrote in my Bible that day… “Live, as if from heaven to Earth; not from the battle, but from the victory!”
Victory in this life happens when we come to know God’s heart through reading His word, and the leading of his Spirit; when we begin to live from his perspective. My great-aunt “Stella” liked to say, “You don’t know what real life is about, until you come to the foot of the Cross.”
Finding the Path
For me, it took God’s two-by-four, him literally speaking right out loud, responding to my pained and impudent cry, “Show yourself or get out of my face forever!” I don’t recommend that approach to Him now, you might understand.
Amazingly, God answered my bold challenge that day with love and grace I didn’t deserve. And with words I’ll never forget—“You’re going home, Susan!” Twice, He said it, out loud, and I could no longer deny Him.
These days, many people believe all the same lies I’d bought into. How do I say, “STOP, you’re going the wrong way!?” It’s like watching someone about to walk under a falling building, and unable to get their attention to avert a catastrophe.
Yet, taking God at his word, and believing who he really is, can allow one to glimpse this whole thing we call life as if through God’s own eyes.
But, there it is—it’s true!
Human Perspective Only Leads to More Questions
The battles we endure here on Earth are like swimming in rough waters; always some resistance. But, by faith, the battle can strengthen us, as we continue to swim; believing there is victory on the far shore. Because, there is!
Learning to see one’s self, your surroundings, other people; every challenge, every issue and effort—as much as God allows from Heaven’s perspective—is the very answer to life. Trusting Him for every step is an adventure I might have missed. I pray you won’t miss it either!
I still hear Him say, “You’re going HOME, Susan.” He said my name, and it keeps me swimming, through even the most troubling waters. “Come to Me,” he says in my heart, “The victory is yours. Stay on the path. The world and its offerings will entice and try to defeat all your efforts to endure. But, trust and keep your eyes on Me, and I will get you Home.”
Sounds crazy, right? It did to me for many years, until I had lost everything and bothered to seek Him. Amazingly, I found he’d been there all the time, waiting! My favorite Bible verse says… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1b)
Taste and See!
When we taste only the things of this life, and fail to look up, we miss real life—the real “song” he planned for each of us to sing. The peace I had sought here on Earth was in whatever made me happy at any given moment. An object, a place, a philosophy; another person I thought could make all my dreams come true. I was hung up on whatever I could accomplish on my own.
Oh, if anyone had asked if I was going to heaven when I died, I would have said, “Yes, I’m a good person!” But I didn’t know the truth. With no anchor for my soul; only the counsel or persuasions of others who also didn’t believe Him, I only had more questions than answers.
When I understood those words the Lord spoke to me back then and the amazing GRACE they impressed on my heart, I knew I would spend the rest of my life telling about him and his truth.
The Song I Came to Sing
I’ve sung thousands of songs in my time, but THIS is “the song” I came to sing: about a perfect heavenly Father who loved us so much He became one of us on Earth; then laid down His life to pay for the sins of ALL who would believe.
Some years ago, I co-wrote the stage play, “Ten Boom the Musical,” with my sister Donna Griggs about the life of author and Holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom, whose faith brought hope to many women in Ravensbruck concentration camp, during WW2. Corrie found God’s call on her life… HER “song”… in that place.
I pray you will find your own life’s “song.” And that you will live in victory, as if from Heaven to Earth, with the hope of the eternal home God promises to all who come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ.
It seems I had died! In my dream, I was standing alone before an enormous set of gates. Closed and rising skyward like a mountain peak, the tops of the gates obscured by great billowing white clouds tinged with silver and muted hues of teal. The intricate grill work on the gates was like nothing I had ever seen. Or had I?
On each gate, a tall winged creature was woven into the lattice; gigantic wings pointing toward a creature on the opposite gate.
I remembered then, seeing similar artist renditions of two kneeling angels facing each other atop the Ark of the Covenant.
I was aware of nothing else around me.
Suddenly, I found myself standing inside; the still-closed gates now behind me. A man dressed in white stood several paces ahead with his back to me. As he turned, I recognized Him as Jesus, although unlike most artists ever depict Him. His eyes looked sadly back toward the gates. I turned to see what He was gazing at so intently.
There, desperate hands were reaching through the grill work far below the winged creatures. I could see the people’s lips moving, their eyes pleading to be let in, but could not hear their voices. Turning again, I saw Jesus walking away.
“Those are the hands of many you were meant to tell about Me, and you did not,” I seemed to understand.
Jesus was gone now, and it struck me deeply that He had not said what I’d hoped to hear—“Well done, good and faithful servant.” I had made it safely inside the gates, but sadly I knew the hands that were reaching toward me would be eternally left outside.
Beyond the Gates
That disturbing dream caused me to wonder what it was speaking to me, personally. Not that I believe all dreams have some deeper meaning; but this one was so real.
There, beyond the gates of heaven, I had wondered, “What more could I have done or said that might have made a difference for those outside?”
What might I do now?
The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “God’s GRACE is sufficient.” It’s humbling to be the recipient of God’s grace when, like Paul, you’ve thought of yourself as “the chief of sinners.”
The SAVING GRACE of God is that, although we deserve Hell for our sinful ways, when we stand before Christ one day (and we will), if we have trusted Him and HIS righteousness to save us, we won’t have to try to justify ourselves by the flimsy, raggish evidence of even our best earthly works. By faith in Him alone, we will be justified!
My dream had seemed to accuse me, “Those are the hands of many you were meant to tell about Me, and you did not!”
However, believing Christ’s sacrifice and His grace to be sufficient for salvation, why would I concern myself (in dreams or otherwise) that I had not done enough works?
In Romans 4:4, Paul wrote, “Now to him who works [to earn salvation], the wages are not counted as GRACE, but as DEBT.” Our salvation should cause us to do good works, but “good works” without faith in Christ will not save anyone.
Another Question to Ponder
What will cause the Lord to say to any of us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’?
Although it is grace through faith in Christ that saves us, in Matthew 25, Christ assures us that the evidence of our love for Him (the “fruit” of our faith) will be the acts of the heart that we have done toward others. God will reward us according to the works we did whole-heartedly toward the hungry and thirsty, widows and orphans, those in prison; any in need of comforting, as though serving Christ Himself.
“What you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto Me,” Jesus said. It seems the more we extend our love and grace to others, the more Christ is served, and the more love and grace comes to us. Grace for Grace!
Birthing a Dream
Not long after my dream, my sister Donna Marquean Griggs and I began writing a musical stage play the Lord had put on my heart in 1986. I had procrastinated about that calling all those years. It’s the powerful true story of Christian author and Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom. Donna and I finally set her story to music.
It took a dream to begin the project in 2009—and “Ten Boom the Musical” was born!
Corrie’s life was full of grace for others; loving and serving millions in Christ through her testimony and her many books. I believe she would not have looked back at reaching hands when she entered heaven’s gates. Telling her story hopes to reach many more “hands” for His kingdom.
Near the end of Ten Boom the Musical, Corrie is about to be led away by a Nazi prison guard, when another prisoner who has mocked Corrie’s faith for months suddenly runs to her. Desperately, she asks Corrie how she can know God, before the Nazis take her life.
Corrie and “Giselle” sing the play’s signature song, “Imagine Perfect Love,” and Corrie’s amazing story ends on a high note after all!
~ ~ ~
In this New Year, many are reeling from the events of 2020; troubled by the prospect of what lies ahead. Covid-19 took a large toll on America and the world. So much was lost to it—businesses, jobs, security, certain freedoms, closeness with others—and, most tragically, many precious lives. It seems now, even America as we knew it might be lost.
Anger and frustration have reached a boiling point in many places. Sadly, forgiving our enemies and being compassionate to one another seems a distant concept for many in today’s climate.
People wonder about the future, while myriad voices seek to place blame and use their influence, even the pandemic itself, to gain an upper hand. Some, with ominous agendas, have fueled the emotions of others, only to create more havoc. Why? And where is it all going?
A while back I wrote a blog titled, “Remembering Corrie—Love, Don’t Hate,” based on the true story of Corrie ten Boom, who suffered and survived a Nazi death camp during WW2. If anyone had reason to hate and want to “cancel” her enemies, it was Corrie. At one point, seeing monstrous injustice all around her, Corrie allowed hatred for the enemy to grip her heart briefly. Then she was reminded of the One who suffered most at the hands of the enemy. One who was nailed to a cross He chose to embrace as He sacrificed His life for our sins. Corrie’s heart melted at that remembrance. Her sins had been forgiven, and she must forgive and love others as He did.
I also know what it’s like to be forgiven much!
A few years ago, I awoke very early, trying to find just the right words to write about His forgiveness in a new book. Not knowing how to begin, finally I prayed, “Lord how would YOU have us see forgiveness?” Almost instantly, the words came. I was impressed to see forgiveness through Jesus’ own eyes—from HIS vantage point on the Cross.
The following is what I believe the Lord gave me that morning…
From the Cross
From my vantage point, high above the crowd—my vision all but obscured by the blood forming around my eyes, the faces of so many blur at times. I know each face… each heart… each of their dreams… what causes them joy… every tear ever shed. I know the fear in some who would rather I died, taking with me the knowledge of their secrets, than to confess the shame that placed me here.
The pain that racks my physical body, nailed here as I AM, is nothing compared to that which has taken over my mind. My eyes meet theirs as the depth or shallowness of each heart is consumed in me. My one link to Sanity [the Father] is distant now—grieving, and yet too Holy to look on the sins I willingly take upon myself.
The eyes below are unable to grasp what is happening at this critical hour—or why I came. I know why each life is here—how it began—how it ends. Some have come to empathize with me and, having forsaken their own way, to trust. They mourn my impending death, having yet to understand the need of it. Many look upon me and suffer deeply within themselves, FOR themselves, what they cannot let go of—cannot FORGIVE. Still others are here to watch curiously, my nakedness twisting, rising and falling, as I struggle for one more breath.
I hear the anguished cries below me—ABOVE me, INSIDE me. And the mocking. They wanted it this way. But I know who and what they are. I created them. I LOVE them, even as they struggle to disconnect—part of them wanting to be free of me; part of them wanting to believe I would never leave them, nor forsake them—even now.
In this moment, so close to dying, I willingly lay down my life for ALL of them—from the foundations of the earth, throughout millennia to come—taking to myself every tear, every earthly pain; every vile and merciless act; until it seems my heart will burst.
And now, before I FINISH this, I make one last plea on their behalf, as their true FRIEND.
To pray, with every fiber of my being, words that echo through my pain-racked head and mingle with my own blood, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” I would have to be God. I AM!
God SO loved us
There He was, beaten and tortured by those who thought He had been only a “trouble-maker,” not knowing they were crucifying the sinless son of God. The One who was born to die for our sins, because God the Father SO loved us!
Maybe you, like me for the first forty years of my life, are unable to grasp what incredible thing happened on the Cross that day in Jerusalem. I know now it wasn’t the end, nor merely another human tragedy. It was the most crucial event of all time that purposed to rescue you and me from a fallen world, that we might spend eternity with our Creator in the place He has prepared for those who love Him.
Is that not more than amazing?
Colossians 1:12-15 says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
He laid down His earthly life in one final, excruciating, sacrificial, once-for-all act of FORGIVENESS.
For our own Peace of Mind…
I read these words over and over, as I have listened to the news lately. I want only to live my faith as a Christian woman and a free American; to treat others as I would have them treat me. That’s also a seemingly forgotten concept today!
But, for our own peace of mind, we must remember God made us and He loves all of us.
He said, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, FORGIVING each other just as, in Christ, God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). He said to, “Bear with each other and FORGIVE one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone” (Colossians 3:13). Importantly, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. FORGIVE, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
Christ Jesus—God with us on earth—said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have PEACE. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart—I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33).
Trusting Him, we will also overcome!
There were few children’s books in my childhood home in California in the fifties. Don’t know why, but reading wasn’t stressed by our parents; other than for school homework. I remember we had a couple of Judy Bolton Mystery books. I liked those. Also, a well-worn Mother Goose book, and a hardbound collection of Grimm’s fairy tales. I see now, the value of taking children to a local library.
The books that otherwise lined our mahogany-paneled room dividers back then included a long-out-of-date set of encyclopedias, and other unappealing literature.
However, one book stood out to me, even as a young girl. Mom told us the book was “too sacred” to touch, or “couldn’t be understood.” A few times, she even described it as, “the dirtiest book in the world.” She must have been having a bad day! But, that sparked my childish curiosity!
One day, when it got the best of me, I dusted off the cover and began to read.
The first part, about how God made the world, was riveting. However, coming to the “begats,” I lost interest. Why all those “funny” names anyway, I wondered? I didn’t know the Bible was actually 66 books in one.
It would be decades before I attempted to read such a book again. I just left that dusty ole King James Bible on the shelf. Whatever happened to that mysterious old volume, I don’t know; but for many years, it seemed to beckon me.
Creativity Sparked By Guilt
I can’t remember what I did wrong one day that caused terrible guilt feelings, but at twelve years old, I wasn’t about to confess whatever it was to another person on earth. So, I thought of God and that dusty old King James Bible, and decided to write my first song. Remember now, I was only 12…
Maybe I’m a sinner and maybe I ain’t… I hear you calling but your voice is faint
Yes, maybe I’m a sinner, but when I go… Don’t let me go down below.
I hear you calling in an anxious way… I was wrong, I owe a price, and now I must pay
Yes, maybe I’m a sinner, but when I go… Don’t let me go down below.
[Bridge] O Lord hear my plea, and have mercy on me… I’d rather be in He-eh-ehven with thee
His voice is getting louder, and I am getting hotter, And to Him I must go
I’m going very slowly, but when I go… Don’t let me go down below.
Well, you might know, the song wasn’t a hit (go figure!), but somehow just writing it made me feel better. Years later, I would recognize that what I had written in those desperate, albeit juvenile lyrics might be called a “sinner’s prayer”—a prayer for salvation.
It would be nearly thirty years before I would say an even more desperate prayer—February 27, 1984—seeking God’s forgiveness for a whole lot of foolishness in my life. I believe now, He was listening the first time. But, this time it would change my life for good.
Another Road, Another Song
Prior to that 1984 prayer, I had toured as a background and duet singer with Grand Ole Opry star “Whispering” Bill Anderson’s show, all over America, Canada and parts of Europe and the Caribbean. We even appeared on a daytime drama, “One Life To Live,” for a season. Before joining “Whisper,” I had been on the road nearly thirteen years with my own show.
I’m thankful for that experience, but I became weary of the endless trips that took me away from my three children back home in Nashville. I admit, I hadn’t thought much about God in years… nor that dusty ole King James Bible. You know, the one I had poured my heart out to in song at age 12.
Now, past 30, life had become too great a challenge. I was tired of the road, cynical about the future for me and my children, and discouraged about my prospects for music, or any other kind of real success. Running On Empty, as the old hit song goes!
It was 1981, and I was applying my makeup in the small bathroom on Bill Anderson’s Silver Eagle bus one early morning. The other members of the show still slept in their bunks as our bus driver, James, drove on down the still-darkened highway toward our next gig. Looking in that bathroom mirror, lipstick in hand, I decided to write another song. Too cynical for my own good, but thinking I was pretty clever, the song made me laugh.
I think now the Lord was not laughing… He was going to have to rescue me.
As I remember, the song went like this…
I remember the day that my daddy took me there… To the John Jacob New Revival Church
No, there wasn’t a day that we didn’t say a prayer… In the John Jacob New Revival Church
[Dum dum de dum… can’t remember this line]… Don’t be shy, and you’ll find the words to say
Put your two hands together and raise your voice up high, ‘Cause He’s listening, no matter where you pray
Oh, the very best prayer that this girl has ever said
Was in the John (in the John).. In the John (in the John)… In the John Jacob New Revival Church.
Now, if that doesn’t tell you I needed saving—or at the very least slapped—what can I say!?
Even so, a few years after that, I found God’s grace and mercy in a large Nashville church, when the Lord had to speak right out loud, to get my attention. He DID!
You see, I went to that church at the lowest time of my life, feeling angry and defeated; thinking to shake my fist in God’s face. I challenged Him, in my mixed-up mind, to “show Yourself or I’ll never believe You, ever.” He DID!
Seek and You Will Find
I learned that day that all I had rejected about God and Jesus Christ was real after all. And that everything I had thought was true was a lie! The most important truth I, or anyone else, could ever know! It was what Corrie ten Boom spent her life sharing with others, even in Nazi prison camps. Now I understood why she did that!
Ten Boom the Musical
In 2009, with God’s help, my sister Donna Griggs and I were blessed to co-write some really wonderful songs for our stage play, “Ten Boom the Musical.”
Faith in Jesus Christ blows the dust off any of our hopeless philosophies and habits! That ole King James Bible that my family allowed to gather dust all those years, had held the treasure of the heart of God.
Once you get that Good News in your own heart, you just have to tell others. It really is a matter of life and death, hope or despair, making sense of this world, or being ever-confused by it. It’s a choice God allows each of us to make.
Praying you will choose to find that treasure, and do life His way. He loves you!
“JUMP!” I heard someone yell. The urgency in the male voice startled me, as I was still too far from the mountain landing to leave the safety of my lift chair.
It was my first trip to Heavenly Valley Ski Resort in California. A friend and I had shared a chair on the ski lift that towed us slowly up the face of the mountain. The view of Lake Tahoe was breathtaking, surrounded by emerald pine forests as far as the eye could see.
Behind us now, the town of South Lake Tahoe looked like a miniature on the rim of the sapphire blue Lake.
Skis dangling from our feet and ski poles at the ready, the thought of the adventure ahead was exhilarating. At nineteen and full of self-assurance, if little experience, I could hardly wait to take on “the slopes.”
I have to admit to some butterflies in my stomach, knowing the lift would not stop when we reached that first landing. I would need to ski off the moving chair, not knowing if I would be suddenly thrust onto a downhill trail toward disaster.
As the landing came in sight, others who had successfully skied off their chairs watched as we approached. Surely, I could do this!
“JUMP!” The insistent voice called out again. Still several feet from the landing, I wondered if maybe momentum would just launch me ahead to safety with the others.
“JUMP, I SAID!” The command startled me, and I was propelled forward off the chair. Big mistake!
Rescue on the Mountain
As if in slow motion, I felt myself slide backward over the face of the mountain. The chair and my friend went on by, as another chair passed over my head. In full panic mode now, I grabbed frantically at icy rocks and small pine brushes that dotted the steep decline.
I could hear people gasp above me, and a large man yelled down to me to, “grab the pole,” he held out. I could barely reach it, but soon found myself being hauled up over the edge, my heart pounding wildly and tears welling up. Both my friend and my rescuer nervously scolded me for skiing off the lift too soon. They were obviously as shaken as I was.
“Someone kept yelling at me to JUMP,” I tried to explain to onlookers. Their faces showed concern and relief, but also disbelief—apparently not having heard the voice. It struck me, I could have died on that mountain that day.
It would be years before I understood the source of that malicious voice. But it would not be the last time that enemy of my soul would shake or try to end my life.
And you can bet, that same enemy who “prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour1” means no less for each of our lives!
Author and Holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom, was raised in a family that instilled faith in God and common sense. It had kept her from such precarious situations. She learned early that life is too precious to risk frivolously, as I had done with my often ill-considered, unskilled and godless escapades.
Yep, Satan is alive and well!
As a young girl, Corrie would have been the one safely enjoying a backyard swing set. While, I was one who had to hang by my heels from the galvanized crossbar above the swings.
Still, each of us in our separate lives was destined to be shadowed by that unfriendly “voice” that meant to do us evil. For me, captive too young to an abusive marriage; then given to near-misses, still foolishly responding to that prompt to “JUMP” into iffy situations.
For Corrie, after a peaceful family life in Holland, came middle-aged imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps for doing good—hiding Jews from certain death. At that same time, I was still learning to walk, half a world away.
“Satan is alive and well!” I remember hearing that, even as a child, knowing little about the one the Bible calls “the enemy” and “accuser or our souls.” Coming to trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1984, I finally read the scriptures and realized the truth of that enemy.
Can anyone doubt evil exists? Think of it….
WARS – Statistics show at least 108 million people died in wars in the twentieth century alone. Estimates for the total number killed in wars throughout all of human history range from 150 million to 1 billion. HOMICIDES equal nearly 400,000 each year. ABORTIONS worldwide estimate 235 million (does not include countries where abortion is illegal, or where not reported). SUICIDES estimate 703,000 each year worldwide. On and on! These statistics do not include genocides, medical/disease-related, and other tragic deaths. Nor, the physical and mental anguish many suffer.
Yes, evil lives!
“JUMP!” he says. And, for all the beauty God created here, some will throw caution and virtue to the wind and leap forward into unnecessary trouble and ultimate catastrophe.
Believing the right Voice
One has said, the greatest advantage Satan has, is that most people don’t believe he really exists, or that hell is a real place. But can we just blame Satan, “The devil made me do it”?
Or is it that many of us, who unwittingly follow that mean-spirited “voice,” don’t believe in a loving God who sacrificed His only Son to save us from our folly, either!
Imagine being in a place where there is NO love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, honesty, mercy; no forgiveness. That was what Corrie and her family found in those Nazi prisons. Imagine then, being surrounded by evil and fear… forever. That would be hell!
Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie experienced that foretaste of hell in Ravensbruck prison, and yet brought hope and Christ’s love and courage to many who suffered, body and soul, there. As Corrie wrote, “I was a prisoner, and yet… [in Christ] I was FREE!”
Yes, Satan is alive and well—for now. The Bible tells us3, “the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”… that, BELIEVING HIM, we might also be free.
The IMPORTANT THING is, to hear and BELIEVE the voice of God through His word—His word is truth! “Satan is a liar and the father of lies,” the Bible says in John 8:44. We must choose who we will believe; one leads to death, the Other leads to eternal life!
The GOOD NEWS is, the day is coming when the Lord closes the door to this world, and sends Satan packing, permanently to the pit of hell—telling him to go “JUMP!”
1 1 Peter 5:8
2 1 John 3:8