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“Today we got a letter from her husband, In the early morning hours last week, she left to be with the Lord. But, he said, she had worked up until midnight that same night, typing with that one finger to the glory of God.” — from the book, Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom
I’d be lying if I said I was happy with life at the moment. I feel like I’ve been unexpectedly and unceremoniously shoved from one chapter of my life into another. It’s a change I wasn’t ready to make. In the previous chapter, I was a happy stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who sometimes did freelance transcription work to bring in a little bit of extra money. In this chapter, I’m still a homeschooling mom but now I’m a part-time cashier as well. Granted, this new chapter isn’t all bad. I like the store and my fellow employees. Even the customers have been nice so far. But it’s a change, and change is difficult for me. I don’t like it.
As I’m dealing with this change and looking around at others who are dealing with change, I can’t help but wonder: Where is God is all of this? Where is He in all this COVID hysteria and political unrest? Where is He in all this financial and emotional devastation? Why is He letting all of this happen? And as I ponder these frustrating questions, a story comes to mind – a story I read several years ago, told by Corrie ten Boom, a woman who had plenty more reasons for questioning God than I do.
Corrie grew up in Amsterdam. She and her family were arrested during WWII for hiding Jews, and Corrie and her sister were sent to a concentration camp in Germany. (I’ve written about the family before: here, here, here, and here.) After she was released from the camp, Corrie spent the rest of her life traveling around the world, sharing the Gospel with people.
In one of the books she wrote about her travels, Corrie tells about meeting secretly one night with a woman in Russia. I’ll let Corrie tell the story from here:
The old woman was lying on a small sofa, propped up by pillows. Her body was bent and twisted almost beyond recognition by the dread disease of multiple sclerosis. Her aged husband spent all his time caring for her since she was unable to move off the sofa.
I walked across the room and kissed her wrinkled cheek. She tried to look up but the muscles in her neck were atrophied so she could only roll her eyes upward and smile. She raised her right hand, slowly, in jerks. It was the only part of her body she could control and with her gnarled and deformed knuckles she caressed my face. I reached over and kissed the index finger of that hand, for it was with this one finger that she had so long glorified God.
What did the woman do with that finger? She typed. She translated portions of the Bible and Christian books by people like Corrie, Billy Graham, and Watchman Nee, into “Russian, Latvian, and the language of her people”. She translated the works and then typed them up to be distributed to other Christians. And as she typed, she prayed for the authors. Corrie goes on to say:
I looked at her wasted form on the sofa, her head pulled down and her feet curled back under her body. “Oh, Lord, why don’t You heal her?” I cried inwardly.
Her husband, sensing my anguish of soul, gave the answer. “God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is watched by the secret police. But because she has been sick so long, no one ever looks in on her. They leave us alone, and she is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police.”
Corrie: Why don’t you heal this woman, God? God: Because I’m using her the way she is.
Me: Why are you letting all of this happen, God? God: Because I’m using it for my purposes.
What are those purposes? I don’t know. Sometimes, I think I see glimpses of them here and there; other times, I have no idea at all what they may be. But visible or not, they’re there. I trust that they’re there.Published in