Blogger: Rachel Kent
Everyone gets discouraged at some point, but publishing is an industry full of emotional roller coasters. It’s easy to fall into the pit of discouragement as a writer, publisher, editor or agent. A book that comes to mind for me during discouraging times is The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. This book is the true story of Corrie’s internment in a concentration camp during WWII. She and her family were Christians hiding Jews from the Germans in Amsterdam. She was caught and tortured, but ultimately survived, and her story has touched millions of people. (The movie is good as well! I cry every time I watch it.)
The most amazing thing to me about Corrie’s story is that, even though the circumstances she faced were awful, her attitude, faith, and optimism are what carried her through.
Here are some quotes taken from the book that encourage me:
“Perhaps only when human effort had done it’s best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.”
“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
“There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety–let us pray that we may always know it!”
I figure that if Corrie can have such a faith during that horrible war, I can strive to have faith like that in my day-to-day life. God knows the future. He has a plan, and I don’t need to worry. The discouragement comes when I don’t let go of the worries. If I trust God, I don’t experience that discouragement; instead I’m excited to see what God has in store.
I’m not so good at letting go of the worry, but I keep trying. 🙂 It helps to think about The Hiding Place.
What books have helped encourage you?
Interesting. Just yesterday my elderly father asked me about Corrie ten Boom. I shared with him some of the circumstances of her life and then I shared that same incident of forgiving where God enabled her to forgive. It is one of the stories that describes what true, godly forgiveness looks like. It has always touched me in a deep way.
Thank you for sharing.
What a great example!
The Red Sea Rules and The One Year Book of Grief really helped me through some agonizing seasons of transition, loss and discouragement.
Great resource you’ve given, Rachel. Thank you for this.
* I find a lot of encouragement in Nevil Shute’s “Round The Bend”, and in Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power Of Positive Thinking.”
* And, well, The Gospel According To John.
Janet Ann Collins
I’ve recently re-read The Power of Positive Thinking and found it inspiring, too.
Your comments on forgiveness and its superhuman nature really hit home, Rachel.
In my debut novel, there’s an exchange between my two main characters that sums up my own experience:
“What are you thinking about, Lucas?”
“Forgiveness? What about it?”
“How hard it is. Hard to forgive others. Harder to forgive yourself.”
*I find myself playing tapes of what others said and did, of what I said and did in response. I’ll think I’ve forgiven someone, and then something happens that triggers the old anger again. I get so discouraged when I slip back down the slope I thought I’d climbed. It makes me understand why Jesus said we must forgive seventy times seven because it might take that many for a single incident.
*I’ve often said the hardest thing we’re called to do as Christians is forgive. Corrie’s example of forgiving the unforgivable is tremendously encouraging to me, too.
Good points, Carol.
* One thing that many people don’t see is that there is a divide between forgiveness and consequence. Forgiveness is not necessarily, “It’s OK, everything is fine.” It’s more of a severe mercy, that takes a miscreant to the next life with a kind of final absolution. Been there, done that, and I got the t-shirt which I wear without shame.
I’d like to add some movies that help me with the discouragement that I’ve been fighting lately…these are the current Marvel Comics adaptations: the Avengers, Captain America, and the Iron Man series.
* OK, please DON’T roll your eyes like that! They might get stuck!
* Seriously, these films have an abundance of solid values, and in the premise that there are things worth fighting for – and worth dying for – they give me both hope and strength. Aide from being terrific stories with outstanding production values, they carry the message that there is always one more positive thing you can do.
* “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” contains possible the greatest bit of dialogue around:
“We’ll do this together.”
“And if we fail?”
“We’ll do that together, too.”
I like the message of that dialogue, too, Andrew. I think that’s one reason those movies are so popular, because they show characters who “have each other’s back”. That’s why I liked M*A*S*H (the tv series), and the original “Star Trek” tv series. Some of the characters couldn’t stand one another, but when the chips were down, they helped each other out.
I was tasked to read The Hiding Place in high school … I loved it, Rachel. It’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Kristy Cambron’s works take me back to that special place. And I so love that God is our hiding place. And just the thought takes me further back to playing hide-n-seek as a kid … how wonderful it was to find that perfect hiding spot. As far as a book encouraging me … it’s hard to pin-point a certain one. I suppose every book I read brings encouragement to me … they make me aspire to be better, work harder … give me hope that I might can do this thing. And I’m at the hardest point in my writing right now … I’m looking for my next idea … this is always the most painful part for me–finding it and feeling good about it–good enough to get going on it. It’ll seem like the right thing will never come, but I’ll find it.
Corrie ten Boom encouraged me in relating that forgiveness incident because I realized that not even a godly person like her could do that on her own. She needed to cry out to God, and He enabled her to do His command.
*One book that helps me with discouragement is part of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy. In it I learn that when we are most discouraged, God is closer than we think–right beside us, in fact.
*The Biblical story of Abigail and David also helps. Abigail was up against tremendous odds from her husband, and from David. Instead of giving in to self-pity and waiting to die, she did what she could.
Discouragement wanted to come in, but she acted with courage and saved herself and many other people.
*”The Devil and Daniel Webster” is another great story to me. Daniel Webster realizes just in time how much his anger makes him like the devil, and he overcomes that anger and wins his case.
*To sum up, probably any book, movie or story that shows people fighting against the opposition (whether from within or without) rather than giving up, is encouragement to me.
I’m so glad you love this book, Rachel, it was one of the first Christian books I read after accepting Jesus as my Saviour when I was a junior in high school. Interestingly, years later I learned it had been ghosted by John and Elizabeth Sherrill, writers who I believe deserve the Gold Medal for Christian writing, and who were editors at the Guideposts Writer’s Workshop I attended.
I was a part of the group that Elizabeth taught and she told us some of her experiences of working with Corrie while writing The Hiding Place. What a gift that was for me! Straight from God. My favorite part of the book was the never-empty bottle of vitamins. God is so cool. Miracles are nothing to him.
A snap of the fingers and mountains tumble.
You are so right. Forget worry. Trust God. You can do it, Rachel. Just say it over and over again. “I trust God.”
This morning I was looking up Isaiah 41:10 for a friend, and kept on reading. 17 through 20 riveted me.
“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them. I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree, I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together.
That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”
So when you’re worried or discouraged about something, close your eyes and say “The hand of the Lord hath done it.” and He will. He opens the springs of water.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
I LOVED The Hiding Place!!!
A Corrie Ten Boom story I also loved is when she was about to speak in a men’s prison and the inmates were extremely unruly. They began to call out that there was nothing a white haired old woman could say to make them listen.
Then she took the podium and very calmly said “My name is Corrie Ten Boom and I survived a German concentration camp.”
Apparently the whole place went utterly silent.
Every man listened to every word she said.
She knew prison and captivity, far worse than they ever would.
When I am feeling discouraged it seems the door opens wide for all my insecurities and fears to come tumbling in. Just like Joshua in Max Lucado’s picture book “The Crippled Lamb,” I am blessed to have family and friends like Joshua’s friend Abigail. “Don’t be sad, little Joshua. God has a special place for those who feel left out.” This beautiful book reminds children and their grownups that we are all important to our creator and the obstacles that often challenge us are really just blessings in disguise. This book along with “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” by Susan Wojciechowski, “Silver Packages” by Cynthia Rylant, and “Mortimer’s Manger” by Karma Wilson are just a few of my treasured Christmas reads for children aged 4 and up. For younger children, “A Christmas Goodnight” by Nola Buck and Bonnie Rickner Jensen’s “A Very Merry Christmas Prayer” are engaging and sweet. All of these books relate the message of Christmas in different ways and I love them all. Thank you for this timely and wonderful blog post, Rachel. I hope I didn’t deviate from your thoughts too much!