If you haven't read The Hiding Place before, I highly recommend it. This story of Corrie ten Boom and her family during World War II has been our family's read-a-loud this past month. It's life-changing. Corrie and her sister Betsie, while captives in a German concentration camp, shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. Story after story of God's protection and provision cause me to praise God and remember that He is the same yesterday (for example, during WWII), today, and forever.
I relate well to Corrie. She is the sister who is not as quick to trust in the Lord or to pray for her persecutors. She is the one who is prone to anger or to react to her circumstances. Yet, God has given her a sister like Betsie, who is calm, thankful, sees everyone's need for Jesus (especially their prison guards), and who rejoices in every opportunity because it is a chance to share Jesus. While I may be more like Corrie, God has given me Betsies in my life too for whom I am grateful.
Because I 'get' Corrie, a particular part of the book resonated with me and I want to share that here. Corrie and Betsie had the opportunity to read the Bible at great length with many women while they were in the miserable and inhumane conditions of the Ravensbruck concentration camp. The sisters didn't know why the guards left them alone after nightly roll-call, but were thankful and used the opportunity well. Because Betsie was extremely weakened, Corrie typically read the Word and led their nightly "church services".
As the winter set in and selfish temptations increased, Corrie found herself justifying her little sins in comparison to the guards' atrocious ones. Her desire to be in the warmer middle section of the crowd than on the edges during roll-call formation, wanting to hold on to a blanket rather than share...these sins seemed so trivial comparatively. And yet, she noticed that as she held on to more and more of these 'rights' in her heart and mind, that joy and power were drained from her ministry.
As she held these sins close to her heart, her prayers "took on a mechanical ring and her Bible reading became dull and lifeless". Her worship and teaching ceased to be real. It was not until she read Paul's account of his thorn in the flesh when she realized how clear God was being to her: "Rely on Me".
Corrie realized that her sin was not her desire to be warm, but in thinking that any power to help and transform others came from herself.
What a raw and very real account of ministry. How easily we can begin serving others for Christ, but then have it turn into something of ourselves...even for ourselves. The symptoms vary, but can look like this: feeling unappreciated for all we've done for others, prayerlessness, going through the motions in worship, anger, keeping account of wrongs, refusing help, feeling far from God, lack of joy...the list can go on and on.
God restored Corrie's joy in ministry when she realized it was all about HIM. In what ways have you made your ministry all about you? Is your ministry to your husband being affected because you refuse to submit to his leading? Is your ministry to your kids being affected because your focus is on how unappreciated you feel around the home? Is your ministry to those at work....those at church...you name it...
how does your ministry need to rely more fully on God? How must we give Him the glory He deserves?