Some stories just can’t be understood.
Not in our time with our minds at least.
Take Corrie ten Boom’s story, for example.
When You Can’t Make Sense of a Story
Growing up as Christians in Holland, Corrie’s family decided to help their Jewish neighbors when World War II started and discrimination against Jews grew stronger and stronger. They hid people in a secret room in their house until they could obtain safe passage out of the range of danger.
But, this decision wasn’t without cost. Corrie and her family were captured and sent to concentration camps for those who weren’t Jews, but aided Jews.
Separated from the rest of her family, Corrie managed to stay with her older sister, Betsie, for much of their imprisonment. The atrocities they witnessed and experienced cannot be explained.
Who would take prisoners of a group of innocent people merely because of their affiliation?
Who would beat someone senseless because they looked the wrong direction?
Why would thousands of thousands of people be mercilessly killed?
Why did Corrie finally be set free on account of a clerical “error” when, a week later, all women her age in the camp were murdered?
Corrie couldn’t understand the prisonsers’ stories, the concentration camp soldiers’ stories, or her own story.
How? Who? Why?
But that’s also the way it is with grace.
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie ten Boom
Amazing and Incomprehensible Grace
Corrie ten Boom tells her story in The Hiding Place, a book I highly recommend anyone reading. She doesn’t hide her own shortcomings and doubts, but instead reveals all the emotions they all felt throughout this journey.
But, with her sister’s faithful help, Corrie kept capturing glimpses of grace and kept returning to hope.
Through solitary confinement.
Through losing her father.
Through beatings, illnesses, and witnessing even worse.
Corrie and her sister maintained that God remained. His grace still existed, and His hand was still present.
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” – Corrie ten Boom
But they couldn’t really understand that. How does God’s grace remain in such a wretched place? We know it’s love, but who can really understand love, either?
But that’s part of the beauty of grace. We cannot understand it. We do not deserve it. And yet it is a gift.
“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” – Corrie ten Boom
Accepting Grace and Holding Hope
Every time I read a quote from Corrie ten Boom or hear a bit of her story again, I’m reminded to receive and give grace and to hold on to hope.
Those two gifts are more powerful, more filling, and more available than any other.
“Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.” – Corrie ten Boom
What is one of your own stories of hope, forgiveness, and grace? Share in the comments below.