I’ve carried this story from Corrie Ten Boom with me for years, but keep circling back to it recently and just had to share. Friends, God reaches for us in our unexpected minutes.
“Morning roll call at Ravensbruck was often the hardest time of the day. By 4:30 a.m. we had to be standing outside our barracks in the black predawn chill, in blocks of one hundred women, ten wide, ten deep.
Names were never used in the concentration camp. It was part of the plan to dehumanize the prisoners — to take away their dignity of life and their worth before God and man. I was known simply as Prisoner 66730.
Roll call sometimes lasted three hours. Every day the sun rose a little later and the icy-cold wind blew a little stronger. Standing in the gray of the dawn, I would try to repeat, through shivering lips, that verse of Scripture which had come to mean so much to me . . . But there came a time when repeating the words did not help. I needed more. ‘Oh God,’ I prayed, ‘reveal Yourself somehow.’
Then one morning the woman directly in front of me sank to the ground. In a moment a young woman guard was standing over her, a whip in her hand.
‘Get up,’ she screamed in a rage. ‘How dare you think you can lie down when everyone else is standing?’
I could hardly bear to see what was happening in front of me. Surely this is the end of us all, I thought. Then suddenly a skylark started to sing high in the sky. The sweet, pure notes of the bird rose on the still cold air. Every head turned upward, away from the carnage before us, listening to the song of the skylark soaring over the crematorium. The words of the psalmist ran through my mind: ‘For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is [God’s] mercy toward them that fear Him’ (Psalm 103:11).
…Every morning for the next three weeks, just at the time of roll call, the skylark appeared. In his sweet song I heard the call of God to turn my eyes away from the cruelty of men to the ocean of God’s love.”
– Corrie Ten Boom, “Tramp For The Lord”