Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Imitator Series

"Imitate me, as I, also, imitate Christ."  The Apostle Paul wrote that in his letter to the Corinthian church, in I Corinthians 11:1.  It is also written it to you and I.  Is there someone you "imitate" because of their Godly walk?
Once a month I'm going to share the heroes of my faith - those who have helped shape my faith and my Christian walk; those I have chosen to imitate because I see the character of Jesus Christ in them.  Jesus Christ is, of course, my Hero above everyone else. But, He has brought people into my life who were imitators of Him, that I may learn, in practicality, from them.

April 15, 1892 - April 15, 1983
Imitator #1

Corrie ten Boom (also known as The Tramp for The Lord) was the first hero of my faith as a new Believer of Jesus Christ 28 years ago, and someone I still seek to emulate.  I read her book, The Hiding Place, and it set my life on it's course.  Reading her story caused me to decide what kind of Christian I wanted to be - a casual Christian or a radical one. Because of "meeting" Corrie through her book, I chose to walk in radical faith, love, and forgiveness.

The "hiding place" in Corrie's
Corrie ten Boom and her family were Bible-believing Christians in Harrlem, Netherlands (Holland).  During the German occupation of Holland in WWII, the ten Boom family made a small, secret hiding place in Corrie's bedroom where they hid Jews who were being rounded up, tortured, and sent to death camps.  They would move the hidden ones to safety whenever they could through the underground railroad.  Corrie, her sisters and brother - Betsy, Nollie, and Willem - were arrested, along with their 84 year old father, and nephew, Peter, after a friend betrayed them to the Gestapo.  At the time of their arrest, there were 6-7 adults concealed in the hiding spot in the ten Boom home.  After many days of living in that tiny space, each finally escaped to freedom.  However, the ten Boom family suffered mercilessly.

While each was held in solitary confinement, their father, Casper, died in that horrid, lonely place ten days later.  Nollie, Willem, and Peter were eventually released. But, Corrie and Betsy were moved to various concentration camps, ending at Ravensbruck Death Camp. Forced to do hard labor, Corrie and Betsy endured the most horrific of human conditions and torture.  Their faith, smack in the middle of the eye of evil, led Jews to their Messiah, Jesus Christ, sometimes just moments before being put to death.  Betsy, finally succumbed to the horrific conditions and died, leaving Corrie alone.  As atrocious as it was to be a prisoner in Ravensbruck, to have lost Betsy was a most crushing blow to Corrie.

Men's barracks at Ravensbruck
Hatred consumed her heart.  But, God held onto her, and through her grieving and her struggle to forgive, she became a beacon of Light  and Love in a pitch-dark, evil place.  On the evening before Corrie was scheduled to be killed in the gas chamber, a "mistake" set Corrie free. Alone, Corrie ten Boom, age 53, walked out of the Death Camp, and kept on walking for 33 years through over 60 countries bringing the message of God's love and forgiveness to all who would listen. Her radical faith and love caused her to be a "Tramp for The Lord", as she lived out of her suitcase and traveled all over the world with no home to call her own.  She authored 26 books and numerous books have been written about her life.

Corrie ten Boom "tramping"
around the world declaring
God's love and forgiveness 
It's interesting to note that having survived Ravensbruck, Corrie traveled and ministered for 33 years (the same lifespan as Jesus Christ) and that she went Home to her beloved Jesus on the same day she was born, 91 years later. The very last five years of Corrie's life were spent in silence and confined to a bed due to several massive strokes she had.  It has been said that more people accepted Jesus Christ in those last five years by sitting at her bedside, than all the years she ministered. Up until her last breath, Corrie was a Vessel of Honor (II Tim. 2:20-21) unto her Lord.  I know she heard Jesus say to her upon her arrival Home, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".

One day when I've completed my journey Home, I will hug and thank Corrie.  And may she be standing by to hear The Lord say to me, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".  After all, I am just an imitator.

Life Lessons Learned:
  • To apply God's Word to my daily life by believing the Scriptures and applying or doing that Word
  • The ascendancy of God over my life
  • The efficacy and glory of forgiving
  • No situational "pit" is so deep that the love of God cannot reach me and through me
  • Even when I don't "feel" I am being used by God, I probably am
  • To have a grateful heart in spite of circumstances
  • To take a stand for righteousness sake
  • The extraordinary power, ability, and willingness of our God to transform us
  • God's grace truly is sufficient to get me through
  • God will cause good to come from even horrific, life-altering circumstances 
  • God will lead and direct a life completely surrendered to Him
  • God can still use me in the latter part of my life  HALLELUJAH!
If you have never read The Hiding Place, it will be my privilege to send you a copy of the book.  Just leave a comment that you would like the book and I'll be in touch to get your mailing address.  You never know how your life may change by getting to know Corrie ten Boom.  If you've already read it, please share what Corrie means to you.  

Because of Him and Unto Him


Pam said...

Corrie was a beautiful woman. I remember seeing her on Christian talk shows...and I've read many of her books. Such a dear person in the midst of all she suffered. But the joy she must know now!

Diane Ronzino said...