Of all the eras, the period which has always captured my attention has been World War II. In my opinion, World War II is one of the most horrific times man has ever lived through, but despite the magnitude of suffering, some of the greatest acts of kindness, love, and sacrifice occurred during the war. One of the women I most admire lived through this horrible war.
Corrie ten Boom's testimony reminds me of Paul's. He wrote the book of Philippians while he was imprisoned, and in Philippians 1:12-14, Paul said that it was a good thing he had been placed in prison. Because of his confinement, many people were seeing their need for God. Paul saw his prison sentence as a blessing in disguise.
I may be wrong, but I don't think Paul or Corrie ten Boom were ever ecstatic over their prison sentence. In fact, Corrie admitted repeatedly that she hated that time in her life. Concentration camps were far worse than anyone could ever describe. Yet Corrie decided to use that time to witness to hundreds of women who were also in the concentration camp. Every night, Corrie and her sister Betsie would hold a Bible study in their barracks. Because of their willingness to be a witness for Christ while enduring the worst possible circumstances a person could live through, countless women came to understand that Jesus died on the cross to save them from spending an eternity in Hell.
Corrie and Paul endured many hardships in their lives, but they didn't let their suffering stop them from being a blessing to others. When they had every right to withdraw into themselves and ignore the needs of others, they chose to spend their days helping others see their need for a personal relationship with God.
The majority of us aren't as noble as Paul or Corrie ten Boom. More times than not, when faced with suffering and hardship, we pull away from others and hide like a turtle. Although we shield ourselves from experiencing more pain and sadness, we also prevent ourselves from being a blessing to others.
Several years ago, I realized an important truth. Having a chronic illness means just that; it's chronic and will stay with me until the day I die. So I have two choices: become a turtle and try to protect myself from pain and heartache, or choose to be a blessing to others and help point people to Christ. If I choose to be a turtle, chances are I will become hard and callous towards the rest of the world, but if I choose to be a blessing, chances are I will also get blessed. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be a blessing and receive a blessing. What about you?
"And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear." ~ Philippians 1:12-14 (NLT)
(c) July 12, 2012