"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see. " This was written by a remarkable lady, Corrie ten Boom, who grew up in Holland before World War II. Her family were watchmakers, and she had every reason to think that she would spend her life repairing clocks and watches in their small shop
. However, when the Nazis invaded The Netherlands in 1940 and began arresting and deporting Jews, the ten Boom family found themselves taking in, hiding, and finding sanctuary for Jewish neighbors and others in need. They were betrayed to the Nazi occupation in 1944. The family was arrested; her father died in captivity, and Corrie and her sister Betsy were moved through three of the most cruel prison camps in Germany.
Their dormitory in the last one, Ravensbruck, was so crowded and vermin-ridden that the guards wouldn't go into the barracks, which gave Corrie and Betsie the freedom to read and share their smuggled Bible with the other women. Their lifelong Christian faith and their ability to see God at work even in these circumstances gave them hope. Betsie died there, and Corrie was released soon after. After the war, she became involved in rehabilitation for other former prisoners of the Nazi camps, and former Nazis as well. This grew into a worldwide mission of restoration, forgiveness and faith. Starting with an estimated 800 Jews who were saved by the efforts of this family and an underground network during the war, the future held opportunities to speak to people in at least 60 countries, and a best-selling book on her life and faith, The Hiding Place. Survivng the worst that people can do to each other led to a led to a future that blessed many thousands of people.
One of the differences between our understanding of God's creation, and most pagan traditions is the concept of history as having a past, present and future. We learn from the past, and look forward with hope in this world, and the promise of being with God in the eternal future. This idea is so powerful that it has also influenced several offshoots of the Judeo-Christian tradition--Islam and Communism also have a vision of a future paradise.
Bill Gaither has given us a great statement of God's gift of life, faith and hope: "Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. For I know Who holds the future: Life is worth the living just because He Lives!"