The hiding place
February 26, 2022
Around the time of Holocaust Remembrance Day, in rapid succession, I read two books to help me observe it meaningfully. The first was Maus: A Survivor's Tale, a graphic novel in which cartoonist Art Spiegelman interviews his father, who survived the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz. The use of cartoons (Jews are represented as mice—stemming from Hitler's description of them as vermin, Nazis are cats) to tell a painful, true story is very impacting. After reading it, I needed to read something redemptive, so I turned to a book I'd read decades ago, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
Corrie and her sister Betsie were Dutch women arrested by the Gestapo for sheltering Jews. They were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp where more than 96,000 women died. They were able to conduct secret Bible studies in their barracks with women a hair's breadth away from death because rampant fleas discouraged guards from inspecting. Betsie died there, but Corrie lived to do good works the Lord had prepared for her in advance (Ephesians 2:10). She helped convert a former concentration camp into a care centre for Germans ravaged by the war and told them about Jesus' love and forgiveness. For decades in her senior years she travelled the world proclaiming, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still". God Himself had become her hiding place.
Faith of any sort can help a person through such experiences, but only Jesus can redeem them. In the last GHPL we talked about how God takes time to grow a tree. Corrie said, "The tree on the mountain takes whatever the weather brings. If it has any choice at all, it is in putting down roots as deeply as possible". Her roots were very deep, nurtured by lifelong scripture reading, prayer, worship and walking with Jesus even when He took her through the valley of the shadow of death. This is why she had something to give even when everything except God had been taken away.
I wondered, how deep are my roots? Will I always have something to give?
Every Muslim we meet is walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Almost every refugee that has come here from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, etc. has personal experience— and if not them, a loved one—of physically walking that valley. Are we prepared to re-present Jesus to traumatized, heavy-laden survivors? Will we be credible, not having had such experiences? God intends that we will. We will because Jesus, who lives in and through us, "was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief...He was despised..." (Isaiah 53:3).
- Thank you for the comforts and freedoms of Canada that offer refuge and a new life to newcomers fleeing devastation and persecution.
- We repent for thinking that's enough, and for being negligent in prayer, provision and presence.
- We affirm that Jesus' blood alone, given for all in redeeming love, is the only source of true hope.
- Show us any part of ourselves that we're withholding from You, so we can give You what is rightfully Yours and become wholly Yours.
- Help us keep putting down our roots as deep as possible so we can stand in any storm and continually re-present Jesus to others.
Spirit, make Jesus known to refugee newcomers in Canada. Become their true refuge.
In His name we pray, Amen.