Ravensbrück—even the mere mention of it caused a shudder. During World War II, it was the most dreaded Nazi concentration camp for women, notorious throughout Europe. But in 1944, it suddenly became a fearful reality for two middle-aged Dutch sisters arrested for hiding Jews, Betsie and Corrie ten Boom.
By a miracle, they managed to smuggle a small New Testament past the guards. This little volume became a lifeline for them and many others. As their suffering in Ravensbrück intensified, its messages kept pace, bringing floods of light and comfort from God.
At every opportunity, the women in frigid, flea-infested Barracks 8 would listen while Betsie read God’s Word. Corrie says, “Like waifs clustered around a blazing fire, we gathered about it, holding out our hearts to its warmth and light.” While their external life became daily more unbearable, “the life we lived with God grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.”
Although she had always believed the Bible, Corrie remembers how mysterious this Book became, even to her: “It was new!” she says. “It had just been written. I marveled sometimes that the ink was dry.” Every day, it brought messages from God that seemed freshly penned just for them. God was there—connecting deeply with these desperate women, trapped in a living nightmare.
As her health deteriorated, Betsie summed up their experience and the focus of their postwar mission: “We must tell [people] that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.” Tragically, Betsie died in Ravensbrück. But when Corrie was released through an administrative error, this was the message she carried to the world from both of them.*
Betsie and Corrie’s witness lives on. There’s no life circumstance where God cannot reach us, and no one is too bad for Him to love. God longs to connect with all of us personally, and He uses many ways to do it. Let’s look at some of them.
*Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, 2006, chapters 13, 14.
Isaiah 59:1, 2 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
With our limited spiritual vision, it’s hard for us to grasp how poisonous and destructive sin is. Sin is any thoughts, words, or actions rooted in self-centeredness—the opposite of God’s compassionate, self-giving love. Sin and love cannot coexist. Therefore, sin separates us from God. Worse, it enslaves us; it’s a way of life we can’t escape by ourselves. God respects our freewill, but He hates sin. He wants to reconnect with us and set us free from sin, and He has made immense sacrifices to do it.
Ephesians 2:4, 5, 8, 9 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses [sins], made us alive together with Christ…. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
The Father’s mercy, love, and grace (undeserved favor) led Him to make provision to reconnect and save us from sin’s death penalty—simply as a gift.
Ephesians 2:13, 18 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the members of the Godhead—work together to free us from sin and connect us with Themselves, if we desire that.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
2 Corinthians 5:19, 21 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.… For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Jesus has done a straight swap with us at great personal cost. He became human and suffered the death penalty for our sins. He follows up individually by recreating us to share in His unending, sinless life. Notice the “in Him” and “in Christ.” He does it by closely connecting us with Himself if we give ourselves to Him and ask.
John 14:16‒18, 20 [Jesus speaking before His death] And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.… At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
After we give ourselves fully to God, the Holy Spirit lives in us. Through Him, Jesus can be closely present with each of us, even though He’s physically in heaven now.
6. What is another vital part of this connection, played by the Holy Spirit?
1 Corinthians 2:10, 12, 14 For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.… Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.… But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Being able to clearly discern spiritual things is vital to understanding salvation and connecting with Jesus. We’re incapable of both without asking for the Holy Spirit.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have many ways to maintain a close connection with us. All of them require our willing cooperation and recognition of our great need and dependence on God.
Hebrews 1:1, 2 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, …and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We can hear God speaking to us daily through the words of the prophets (the Old Testament) and Christ (the New Testament), found in the Bible. It’s a living Book, as personal and powerful today as when it was newly written. The Word of God is imbued with His creative power. Through studying and obeying it, we receive spiritual life and the power to resist temptation. We also become filled with God’s love.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
The Holy Spirit prays effectively for us every time we pray. He knows what we really need. Prayer—talking openly to God—is as vital for us as breathing. Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it connects us personally with our heavenly Father, His love, forgiveness, guidance, and power.
Acts 5:31 Him [Jesus] God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Repentance (sorrow for our sins), faith in Christ’s ability to save us from eventual destruction, and a renewed, compassionate heart through the indwelling Holy Spirit are gifts from God we must ask for daily. They’re vital for our continuing connection with Him and a joyful life with Jesus.
Acts 18:9, 10 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
When we join God in His ministry to others, we understand Him better and become closer to Him as we experience more of His goodness in action.
Psalm 19:1, 2 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.
Nature, though defaced by sin, still tells us so much about the amazing Beings who designed and created it. (See Genesis 1:2; Ephesians 3:9.) God gives us many life lessons through nature and Jesus’ nature parables.
Psalm 40:2, 3 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God.
Praising God in song is a beautiful way to connect with Him. We don’t need a great voice, just a thankful heart!
It’s the greatest desire of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to reestablish the personal connection with us that sin has broken. They give fully of Themselves and use many different means to do it.
I want to be connected with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who love me so much that They’ve sacrificed Themselves to connect with me.