Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "As Pants The Hart For Cooling Streams"1 (Lyrics)
Philippians 4:11b-13 – I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)
In The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Corrie recounts how she, her father, and her sister Betsie were taken to prison for doing good. Their crime? Helping persecuted Jews during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The Beje, their tall, narrow house in Haarlem, operated as a secret headquarters for an underground organization that found hiding places for Jews, obtained false identities for them, and provided ration cards by the hundreds. Despite the potential danger, the family's lives were full, and they were content.
One fateful day, their lives were turned upside down. The Gestapo raided the Beje. This was not the drill that they had practised many times; this was real. Although the Jews who lived with them managed to scramble to safety in a specially-built secret room, Corrie, her sister, and her elderly father were arrested and taken to prison. Her father soon died, but the sisters ended up in Ravensbrück, an infamous concentration camp in Germany.
In Ravensbrück, Corrie and Betsie found themselves in horrific surroundings. Overcrowding meant that the sisters slept on a stinking straw-covered platform with twice as many bodies than it was built for. Blankets were thin and inadequate. Overflowing toilets were not enough for all the women in the room. Meals were a watery turnip soup with a hunk of bread and ersatz coffee. Roll call meant standing for hours in the pre-dawn chill. Moreover, the barracks were infested with fleas.
Corrie struggled against the injustice of it all. Betsie, however, had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Philippians 4:12b) and always found something to be thankful for. As the sisters prayed together, Corrie couldn't understand why Betsie insisted that they had to thank God for the fleas. Ultimately, the fleas worked for their good. Because of them, the guards would not set foot in the room, and they were able to encourage an ever-widening circle of prisoners as they read the Bible and prayed together.
Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (NIV)
Corrie and Betsie were able to endure their circumstances only through their close relationship with the Lord. He was their hiding place; the words of their smuggled Bible were Spirit and life to the women who gathered around them.
Our challenges pale in comparison to theirs, yet still, those circumstances loom threateningly on our horizons. Let's remember that we have a hiding place in God and that we can be content in His strength in any difficulty.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for being our hiding place in times of trouble. Thank You that You are as close as a prayer, and that we can be content no matter what goes on around us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.