Back in the late 1970s when I was working as a door to door evangelist in Oxford, passing on Christian books was a major part of the ministry. In addition to excellent books by Michael Green and David Watson about finding Jesus, I loved to pass on biographies that describe the power of God in action. Books such as The Cross and Switchblade, God’s Smuggler and The Hiding Place rarely fail to make a deep impression on those who read them.
What stories God’s people have to tell! I introduced the film of The Hiding Place many times at meetings and it never fails to move. Michael Ross Watson, who knew her well used to call her Tante Corrie (Aunty Corrie). It is a lovely thought that the two of them will now be reunited in Heaven. I have recently been rereading Corrie’s sequel to the Hiding Place, Tramp for the Lord. (Hodder and Stoughton)
Most people have heard of the occasion when Corrie came face to face in a meeting with one of the concentration camp guards who had treated the prisoners so brutally, who came up to her asking for forgiveness. As memories of the guards’ brutality flashed through her mind, she knew this was a pivotal moment. She knew that if she chose to allow the memory of the hurt he had caused to win, she would be unable to live in the power of an authentic ministry. As she wrote, “Forgiveness is not an emotion but an act of the will . . . I knew that unforgiveness would hurt me more than the guard’s whip.” She wrote later of the moment when she reached out to take his hand: “I have never known God’s love so intensely as I did then!”
Soon after the end of the Second World War, the Lord directed Corrie to go to America. But no one wanted to hear her testimony! With no income coming in, and pressures mounting from all sides, many taunted her to go back to Holland ‘because God does not speak directly to people these days.’ But God (and what a wonderful and life-changing phrase that is: But God!) worked a series of miracles to open the way for her to share her faith widely until the time came when she knew that it was right to return to Europe: not, as she had hoped, to her beloved Holland but to Germany: the one country she had always hoped the Lord would not ask her to go back.
Corrie had been imprisoned in Ravensbruck concentration camp for the crime of sheltering Jews and had lost almost all her immediate family through Nazi hostility, but the Lord showed her that just as survivors of the concentration camps needed caring for, the German people, who had been so badly deceived and defeated, were desperately wounded and needed to hear the gospel.
When someone has been through such a dark experience as Corrie did in a concentration camp, the Lord often bestows special authority and anointing on us. So when she says “There is no pit so deep that Jesus is not deeper yet” these are words we do well to take to heart!