lessons I've learned from Thanksgiving

Dear Friend:

Even though you and I haven’t been in the same place over the last several weeks—or perhaps ever—I have felt the warmth of your presence many times.

You’ve prayed for Cynthia and me and for Insight for Living Ministries. You’ve sent us letters and left comments on social media. You’ve given financially so we can continue the work God has called us to do. You’ve read about our field pastors in faraway lands, and you’ve praised the Lord for all He’s doing through our partnership. When I think of all those significant things, I feel as though we’ve actually been together.

I had this same feeling years ago with someone who wasn’t there. Her name was Corrie ten Boom. Cynthia and I were touring Amsterdam before leading a cruise-conference along the southern shores of Norway. While visiting that enchanting town, we made the short journey to nearby Haarlem, where we toured the home where Corrie grew up. It was there, you may recall, that she, her sister Betsie, and her widowed father hid many Jews and other hunted refugees from the Nazis during WWII.

Our small group climbed the steep, narrow stairs that creaked beneath our feet to the upper level of the house. A hush fell over us as our guide pointed out the hole in the wall through which frightened families would push themselves into a two-foot by eight-foot space—so tiny they had to take turns lying down to sleep. As we stared at the “hiding place,” the room became as silent as a windless, winter night.

I could almost see Papa ten Boom, Corrie, and Betsie secretly bringing meager meals and small jars of water to the room—then quickly passing them through the opening, so the Jews inside could survive. Eventually, Nazis raided the ten Boom home, and every ten Boom family member present was arrested. But the hiding place and the six Jews hidden therein at the time remained safe.

As I stood motionless, blinking back tears of gratitude for the ten Booms’ courage and commitment, I felt as if Corrie’s presence, like an angel, hovered over us. Before their arrest, the ten Booms and those who worked with them saved nearly 800 lives.

In the years after the Great War, Corrie traveled the world, telling of the horrors she’d endured at the Ravensbrück death camp, the devastating loss of her father and sister, and the faithfulness of God, who saw her through those heartbreaking years. She loved to repeat Betsie’s tender words, spoken before she died: “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

Corrie, more than most, understood how unbearable life can seem while enduring painful and lonely times. These days of coronavirus are both. But, as Corrie modeled so beautifully, it’s important to remember that no pit goes deeper than God, our ever-present help in times of need. He is our hiding place.

As we shelter in place, let’s hide our souls in Him. Let’s remember we aren’t alone. Though we’re apart, we—as a ministry—are here for you, just as you are there for us. Furthermore, our faithful Lord is never absent from any of us.

To encourage you through these challenging days, I’ve selected twelve messages from my series Epochal Events Nobody Expected to put on our website for viewing 24/7. I’ve prepared a special introduction and closing for each message, and our talented team is working to make these top-notch, film-quality videos for you. You can find them at insight.org/epochal-events and choose the videos that speak most to your circumstances.

I know many people are struggling financially right now. Insight for Living Ministries is also in a serious way, especially as we approach the end of our financial year on June 30. Please, if you’re able, send a donation before June 30 to help us close our year on budget.

I assure you, your gift is urgently needed and will be used to help desperate individuals around the world cling to soul-strengthening truth:

This pit is not too deep . . . and you are not alone.

With you in spirit and in truth,

Chuck Swindoll

Charles R. Swindoll



Corrie Ten Boom

Photographs courtesy of Corrie ten Boom House Foundation, Haarlem, the Netherlands. Used by permission.