It’s a remarkable story.
In September 1944, a Dutch woman named Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were sent to the infamous Nazi death camp, Ravensbruck, in Germany.
For the previous seven months, the women had spent time in prison and a concentration camp in Holland for hiding Jewish people in their home.
A Bible had sustained the incarcerated women and given them strength to share with other prisoners.
Now as she stood in line waiting to be searched, Corrie feared the Ravensbruck guards would find the Bible she’d hidden in a cloth bag, hanging from a string between her shoulder blades.
In the book, “Tramp for the Lord,”* Corrie tells how she prayed for God to send his angels to surround them, but remembered that heavenly beings are spirits — and transparent.
“Lord,” she prayed, “Make your angels un-transparent.”
The woman ahead of her in line was searched. Behind Corrie, Betsie was searched.
But the guards didn’t touch or even look at Corrie.
“It was as though I was blocked out of their sight,” Corrie said.
Corrie would face another line of guards, only to be shoved by a captain, who just told her to move along.
Recently, Corrie’s story reminded me of man in the Bible, who got some angelic help at just the right time, too.
His name is Daniel.
Taken into captivity along with other young Hebrew men, Daniel will end up serving more than one foreign king.
Daniel is promoted to positions of authority and under the reign of King Darius is distinguished above all the other officials.
Those officials are jealous and want to kill him.
So the officials trick Darius into signing a decree that no one will be allowed to worship any other god or man — except the king — for the next 30 days.
Anybody who does will be thrown into a den of lions.
It’s a decree that can’t be revoked.
After hearing that the document has been signed, faithful Daniel opens the windows of his house and prays three times a day — just like he’s always done.
The malicious officials tattle on Daniel to the king, who becomes greatly distressed and tries to find a loophole.
But even a hot-shot lawyer and whole legal team couldn’t have helped Darius, who when pressed by the officials finally orders that Daniel be thrown into the lions’ den.
A stone is put over the mouth of the den and sealed (probably with wax) with the king’s own ring.
Anybody planning a rescue would have broken that seal and most likely executed.
Prayerful Daniel must have made an impression on the king, though.
The Bible doesn’t say the king prayed, but he spends a sleepless night fasting.
At daybreak, the king hurries to the lions’ den and — as he comes near it — cries out in an anguished voice:
“Oh Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
Daniel has good news.
“Oh king live forever!” Daniel says. “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him….”
Stop a minute.
Notice the angel.
Some Bible translations say the angel shut the lions’ mouths.
Others say God sent an angel.
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And shut the animals’ mouths.
So did our Lord take his own Holy hand and close the mouths of those ferocious fur balls with teeth?
Or did an angel?
Technically — since angels serve God — I think it could have been both.
One thing is certain. The protective angel showed that the Lord was Daniel’s ever-present deliverer.
Daniel didn’t have a pricey defense attorney to argue his case or a machine gun-toting human body guard.
He didn’t need them.
Daniel had the God of the universe — whom he’d loved and served for years — on his side.
Even King Darius noticed Daniel’s consistent faithfulness when he asked: “has your God whom you serve continually been able to deliver you?”
The overjoyed king has Daniel pulled from the den and as the Scriptures record: “No wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
After that, Darius has the officials who’d so viciously spoken against Daniel thrown into the lions’ den — and not only them, but their wives and children.
It’s hard to read that families were punished for what the men did.
In the book of Ezekiel, God even says children aren’t supposed to be punished for the iniquity of their fathers.
But Darius wasn’t a Hebrew.
And ancient kings obviously didn’t know or take those words into account.
Why didn’t God send an angel to rescue the families?
I don’t know.
Why didn’t God keep Corrie and Betsie and millions of Jewish people from being sent to concentration camps?
I don’t know that either, but I have read about the tremendous impact these women had on their fellow prisoners.
After escaping the guards’ notice, Corrie and Betsie had secret Bible studies in their barracks, which became known as the crazy place where people had hope.
“Yes, hope, in spite of all that human madness could do,” Corrie said decades later. “We had learned that a stronger power had the final word, even here.”
Betsie died at Ravensbruck. Corrie was released due to a clerical error and spent the rest of her life traveling the world, spreading the Gospel and talking about the love of Christ.
Corrie lived to be 91 years old and I believe she and Betsie are enjoying life in heaven.
And kind of like Daniel, they left behind a legacy of faith in God that could be described as remarkable.
Today, the question remains: Can we be as trusting as people like Daniel, Betsie and Corrie, who risked — and sometimes lost — their lives while serving God?
I’ve wondered so many times if I could be that brave.
I can only pray and trust that God will prepare me for whatever lies ahead in my life. I know he’ll deliver me — one way or the other.
God delivered Daniel from lions and Corrie from a concentration camp.
And actually, he delivered Betsie from the camp, too, when he carried her from this life into eternity.
Was an angel around to help take Betsie to heaven?
I wonder. But whether or not Betsie got an angelic escort, I’ll bet she and Corrie are seeing plenty of angels now.
I’d like to think Corrie’s met and thanked those angels who somehow helped her escape the notice of her captors — at just the right time.
Most of all, I try to imagine how thrilled she must be to stand before our mighty God, whose love and protection is limitless.
“Tramp for the Lord,” Corrie Ten Boom, James Buckingham, copyright 1974, The Berkley Publishing Group.