Weight Of The World

And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sex sin?”
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.
Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
It’s too heavy,” I said.
Yes,” he said, “and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

~Corrie ten Boom, from The Hiding Place

On this morning, February 28th in 1944, Corrie ten Boom was sick in bed with influenza. She remembered thinking she was having a nightmare, but awoke to realize it was all too true. The Gestapo was searching their home.

As Michelle DeRusha described in her book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: 

Seconds after Corrie lowered the secret panel and leapt under the blankets again, a member of the Gestapo loomed at the foot of her bed. He demanded she dress and follow him downstairs, where she, her father, her two sisters, and other family members who’d gathered at the house that morning for a prayer meeting were beaten and interrogated while the officers searched for the hidden Jews. The Gestapo waited, seizing anyone who came to the shop under the auspices of watch repair. At the end of the day, thirty-five captives were hauled to prison. Although they ransacked the house, the Gestapo didn’t find what they sought most. The Jews were never discovered, and forty-seven hours later, they were freed from the cramped space behind Corrie’s bedroom wall and taken to new safe houses. Four of the six survived the war.

She later said she had learned to hold on to the things she loved with loose fingers so it didn’t hurt so much when God pried them from her hands. In time, each of us relinquishes a child’s innocence to the unvarnished knowledge of a fallen world.

I am always amazed to see how much a person ages when they become President of the United States. They seem to go in with dark hair and come out with grey. I can only imagine the knowledge they are forced to bear and how the grave responsibilities of the office must weigh on their minds. Politics aside, we should pray for our leaders every day.

That also helps me to avoid questioning God when I don’t understand His ways. We don’t have enough wisdom to manage our own lives, much less so the affairs of the universe. The Bible says we should look to God as our Father and seek His will in our lives. Jesus reminds us that God is King and the answer to every worry is to let God be God.

As Ken Kovacs wrote in his book Out of the Depths

According to Jesus, the antidote to worry is the kingdom. The kingdom is the core message of Jesus’ preaching. Now, it’s natural to be anxious and to worry. But Jesus wants us to direct our attention away from what we think we don’t have (scarcity) to what we already do have, which is God’s kingdom that is and is still coming, and then he reminds us and calls us to rest and trust in God’s providential care for all of creation, from the detestable ravens, to the lilies of the field, to every human being created in God’s image. For we are, as the psalmist said, the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8). Jesus is drawing us out away from anxious obsessions toward God’s faithfulness and invites us to act from within that sense of trust. To be caught up in a constant state of anxiety and worry is lack of faith; in other words it’s a sign that we’re not fully resting in God’s goodness. I don’t think Jesus says this to judge us—nor do I say this in judgment—Jesus isn’t trying to make our lives more difficult, but wants to show us a still more excellent way.


Luke 12:22–31

22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.



D I G  D E E P E R

 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

It’s nearly impossible to quantify the effects, both immediate and long-term, the events of World War II had on Christianity. As in any great conflict, the tenets of Christianity in Europe and North America were irreparably shuffled, and the Great War gave rise to some of the most revered Christian thinkers and writers in history.
Swiss theologian Karl Barth opposed the twisting of German Protestant beliefs into nationalism, sparking the inception of the Confessing Church, which opposed Nazi influence in Christianity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the founders of the Confessing Church, advocated the assassination of Adolph Hitler and was hanged in a concentration camp in 1945. In 1943, the BBC broadcast a series of talks from Oxford don C. S. Lewis, a collection that would later become Mere Christianity. French theologian Jacques Ellul was forced to hide in the Bourdeaux countryside and became a member of the French Resistance. Brother Andrew van der Bijl, who we talked about previously, waged a single-handed partisan campaign on occupying forces in the Dutch lowlands as a teenager. As the Axis powers fell—the echoes of a worldwide conflict, the horrors of genocide, the sheer crushing weight of the consequences—the church was left to grapple with what remained. Broadly, and particularly in North America, the church rejected pacifism, embraced Christian Zionism, and fascism fell off the map as a viable political option.
Through all this upheaval, there was Corrie Ten Boom, the youngest daughter of a well-regarded Dutch family from Haarlem. Two years after the Blitzkrieg tore through The Netherlands, the Ten Booms joined the Dutch resistance. Due to Corrie’s charity work and her family’s reputation, she became a connector for the resistance in Haarlem. The Ten Booms were able to procure additional ration cards, and for two years hid Jewish refugees in a specially-designed hidden room in their home.
The family was finally arrested in early 1944 due to a Gestapo informant, and Corrie and her sister were eventually moved to the notorious Ravensbruck concentration camp in northern Germany. In December of that year, Corrie’s sister, Betsie, died. A few weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, Corrie Ten Boom was released from Ravensbruck due to a clerical error. Two weeks after that, all female prisoners of the camp around Corrie’s age were killed.
The Hiding Place, the story of the Ten Booms’ experience, became one of the most well-known books about the Holocaust and the underground lattice of dissenters who risked their lives to save the Jews.

Sources & Resources

Dan Gibson, Jordan Green, and John Pattison, Besides the Bible: 100 Books That Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012).
Kenneth E. Kovacs is pastor of the Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Catonsville, Maryland, and has served congregations in St. Andrews, Scotland, and Mendham, New Jersey. Ken studied at Rutgers College, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. in practical theology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. He is also an analyst-in-training at the C. G. Jung Institute-Zürich. Author of The Relational Theology of James E. Loder: Encounter & Conviction (New York: Peter Lang, 2011) and Out of the Depths: Sermons and Essays (Parson’s Porch, 2016), his current research areas include C. G. Jung and contemporary Christian experience. Ken has served on the board of the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, is a current board member of the Presbyterian Writers Guild, and a book reviewer for The Presbyterian Outlook.
Michelle DeRusha, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2014), 274–275.
Header Image by Tom Darin Liskey

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Rick Wilcox

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