In the midst of World War 2, in the middle of a German death camp, a sixty year old woman whispered these words and in them found hope:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword….No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Corrie ten Boom faced an impossible and hopeless situation…worse than anything I could possibly imagine. Everything she listed from the scriptures above happened to her.
Death, starvation and evil prevailed.
She stood for hours in the cold, naked and filthy as she watched the women around her get beaten and shot when they could stand no longer.
Her dying sister was mocked and brutally treated by even the nurses in the camp.
And yet, somehow, these very words brought such comfort to her soul that she was able to lift her hands in adoration and face each new day with courage.
I’ve been pondering these very scriptures in Romans 8 for the past few days now and I have come to the conclusion that while these words deeply move me, I will never quite know the depth to which they comforted Corrie until I face the very trials and pain of which they speak.
When I wake up, I am well fed and warm, healthy and clothed and it is SO easy to feel like I can conquer anything. But take even one of these “rights” away, and I become miserable, discouraged, perhaps even angry and bitter.
The true test of our faith comes not when things are good, but when things are hard.
I’ve recently seen two different people: both were pleasant and joyful, both claiming to have faith, both strong and admirable. There was no difference between the two when all was well.
Yet something terrible happened to each one. And here’s when their true colours showed. One of them grew angry, cold, hard and bitter, isolating themselves from the people around them, bullying anyone who tried to reach out and help.
Yet the other person stayed soft, thankful, kind, and gentle…not only this but they continued to even bless, encourage and even help those around them.
Somehow I think God wasn’t surprised.
Many times I look at the world around me and see people who don’t seem to care for God at all and wonder how they have their lives better put together than mine. I ask myself – is there any point?
Ahh, yes. Then I remember that right now, things are quite comfortable.
But a time comes for each person where they are tested to the core of their being. Only through Jesus Christ can we stand against these trials and say we are more than Conquerors.
I have a feeling that someone reading this today is going through such a trial now. My heart breaks for you. I am crying as I write these words, because such hardships can nearly destroy us forever.
Jesus understands it completely. He was beaten almost to death. He was naked on the cross. He was mocked. He was betrayed. He saw evil reign. Yet he conquered it all!
AND because He conquered all of these things, we can be confident that he will never ever leave us and that through him we are MORE than Conquerors!
“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
What’s coming will FAR outweigh all the suffering we will experience here. Just like in childbirth, the reward is worth the pain. In fact, ask any mother and she would willingly go through it all over or even worse for her precious bundle. All suffering is forgotten when she receives her prize. I believe it will be the same with our reward in heaven.
Don’t let your troubles destroy you, dear friend. Even as you feel weakened in the flesh, may your spirit grow strong in Christ. Allow yourself to be purified in this time of testing.