Keith Hunt - Angels ARE here #3 - Page Three   Restitution of All Things

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Angels ARE here #3

Invisible Intervention


The angel of the lord encamps around those who fear him, and he
delivers them.

     Corrie ten Boom was a middle-aged spinster who led an
uneventful life as a watchmaker in Haarlem, Holland. When
Hitler's armies conquered much of Europe in the early 1940s,
Corrie's brother, a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, began
to shelter Jewish refugees. Eventually, as German troops occupied
Holland, Corrie decided to help too, by hiding Jewish friends in
a secret passage within her home until they could be smuggled out
of the country.
     Gradually, the ten Boom household became the center of the
city's resistance movement, with hundreds of Jews passing
through, and some being hidden permanently. "My room resembled a
beehive, a sort of clearinghouse for supply and demand," she
wrote in "A Prisoner, and Yet ..."

     On February 28, 1944, Corrie, her sister, Betsie, and their
father were betrayed and arrested. Although the Gestapo searched
their house, the secret room had been so cleverly designed that
they could find no evidence of smuggling. Since the ten Booms
refused to reveal the house's hiding place, they were convicted
of stealing food-ration cards, and sent to prison. (All but one
of their guests ultimately reached safety)
     Corrie's father lived for only ten days after being
sentenced, but for Corrie and Betsie, the next year was hell
itself. And yet through her indomitable spirit and firm faith in
God, she brought hope and kindness to many suffering prisoners.
     To her knowledge, she never saw an angel "in the flesh;" but
she found evidence of angelic intervention.

     At one point, as she and other inmates arrived at the
dreaded Ravensbrueck, a women's extermination camp, Corrie
realized in horror that all their possessions, including warm
clothes, were being taken from them. They would freeze in this
desolate wasteland. And what of her little Bible? She wore it on
a string around her neck, and it had been her consolation through
the desolate days thus far. But surely it would be confiscated.
Before it was Carries turn to be stripped and searched, she asked
permission to use the bathroom. There she wrapped the Bible in
Betsie's and her woolen underwear, laid the bundle in a corner,
and returned to the row of waiting prisoners. Later, after Corrie
and Betsie had been redressed in the prison's regulation under-
shirt and dress, Corrie hid the roll of warm underwear and her
Bible under her clothes. It bulged considerably, but she prayed,
"Lord, send Your angels to surround me." Then, realizing that
angels were spirits, she amended the prayer: "Lord, don't let
them he transparent today, for the guards must not see me!"
     Calmly, she then passed the guards. Everyone else in line
was searched from side to side and top to bottom, every bulge and
crease investigated. The woman in front of Corrie had hidden a
woolen vest under her dress, and it was immediately spotted and
confiscated. Behind her, Betsie was searched. But Corrie passed
without being touched - or even looked at - by anyone. it was as
if no one saw her in line. At the outer door, as a second row of
guards felt the body of each prisoner, she was again unnoticed.
     Bibles were forbidden property. To be found with one meant a
doubling of the prison sentence as well as a cutback on rations,
which were already just above starvation level. Corrie lived for
several months at this cruellest of institutions and was
subjected to many searches. She and Betsie also conducted
clandestine worship services and Bible study for inmates of all
faiths and nationalities. But there seemed to be an invisible
wall of protection around her Bible, for the guards never found

     In Ravensbrueck, prisoners had to surrender most medicines,
but they were allowed to keep a few toilet articles. Corrie kept
a bottle of Davitamon, a liquid vitamin compound, that, at the
time she entered Ravensbrueck, was about half full. Vitamin
deficiency was one of the worst hazards to prisoners, and
Corrie's instinct was to hoard the precious vial for Betsie, who
by now was emaciated and ill. But the others were sick too, "and
it was hard to say 'no' to eyes that burned with fever, hands
that shook with chill," she wrote in "The Hiding Place." Soon the
number receiving a daily dose was over thirty, and still, "every
time I tilted the little bottle, a drop appeared at the top of
the stopper. Many times I lay awake trying to fathom the marvel
of supply lavished upon us" Although she could not understand 
how it was happening, the drops kept coming.
     One day someone who worked in the prison hospital smuggled a
yeast bag containing vitamins to Corrie, asking that she dispense
them to as many prisoners as possible. Corrie gave each woman
enough to last her for a week. But when she opened her own little
bottle of Davitamon, the bottle was dry. However, the yeast bag
took its place, continuing to yield vitamins for many weeks.
Corrie always believed that angels had a hand in these
unaccountable events.

     Betsie died in prison from starvation and illness. A short
time later, Corrie was called into the warden's office and
released. Her suffering had ended. But life would never again be
the same.

     Corrie began a new career, opening homes for people who had
been damaged by brutal treatment during the war, places where
they could heal their bodies and minds. To support her homes, she
went around the world giving lectures. It was not until 1959,
however, that Corrie discovered the most significant "invisible
intervention" she had received. She was revisiting Ravensbrueck
as part of a pilgrimage honoring the ninety-six thousand women
who died there, when she learned that her own release had been
the result of a "clerical error." A week after she'd been granted
freedom, all the women prisoners her age had been taken to the
gas chambers.


Yes, Angels are here my friends - Keith Hunt

Entered on this Website October 2007

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