The world is deathly ill » Corrie Ten Boom (1974)

“Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.”
-Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom(The following is from a letter Corrie wrote in 1974)

“The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.

We may have been the Lord’s only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” for I have found where it is written that Jesus said, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.”

This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick.

“Yes, the Lord will heal me,” Betsy said with confidence.

She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy’s death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, – to stand and not faint.”

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, “Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.” Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, “Nothing could be any worse than today.” But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy.
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.” (I Peter 3:14)
I found myself saying, “Hallelujah!

Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!”

In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.

The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, “Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?”

The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.

“When I was a little girl, ” I said, “I went to my father and said,

“Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”

“Tell me,” said Father,

“When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket?

Three weeks before?”

“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”

“That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…”

My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, “In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.

But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

How can we get ready for the persecution?

First we need to feed on the Word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.

Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other.

But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting.
The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life.

Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also.

But then I read the Bible and I am glad.

When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”, (Job 13:15) for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life.


Corrie Ten Boom – 1974


20 comments on “The world is deathly ill » Corrie Ten Boom (1974)”
  1. Norma Jean Green says:


  2. Frank Darby says:

    Wow! I love that!

  3. Karen Rabbitt says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’d forgotten the context of that train ticket story. How we need this now.

  4. Norma Jean Green says:

    I remember that “train ticket story.” What was so amazing with Corrie’s stories was the fact that when the Lord told her to do anything, she didn’t know how it would end up, instead she would obey the Lord and before it was over, SHE UNDERSTOOD THE WILL OF GOD. ISN’T THAT MARVELOUS TO LIVE THAT CLOSE TO GOD. WE CAN ALL DO THAT. IT IS THE CONSECRATION SHE HAD. WE NEED THAT SAME CONSECRATION IN THESE DAYS IN WHICH WE LIVE. GLORY TO GOD !!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yes Norma Jean, if you haven’t read much on Smith Wigglesworth I’d recommend that as well. He, too, was a person who learned to listen and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit unquestioningly and God used him in mighty and miraculous ways.

  5. Norma Jean Green says:

    Garth, I have read Smith Wigglesworth and enjoyed the book very much. He was a person who listened to the Lord’s leading. I am 76 years of age and have always been in a Pentecostal Church. I had kin folk who listened and followed the Holy Spirit in their daily walk with the LORD. I am praying each day that I will grow in the SPIRIT AND LEARN TO OBEY THE SPIRIT. IT TAKES A CONSECRATION LIFE . God is the same today as he was in Corrie’s time and Smith Wigglesworth’s time. It is our choice. My choice is to follow JESUS. GOD BLESS YOU.

    1. Norma Jean,
      May the Lord bless you in all that you do as you set it before Him.

  6. Shinko Hayashi says:

    35 years ago I was new born baby christian in Japan , I came to know Corrie through her books. I found she had been with Jesus any time , she had shared Jesus anywhere. She has been my teacher until today. She taught me that we could communicate with Jesus anytime , and so we could love and introduce Jesus the people everywhere I met. I love her and will live like her. And I have told many christians about train ticket story !!

  7. Sheena Meek says:

    Timeless truth for today!
    The trouble with the “sacrifice” of our lives in these days is that we keep getting off the altar; to quote an old preacher I once heard.
    I am so pleased to have found this site. Thank you Lord

  8. Vineeth Elson says:

    God bless you for sharing this letter

  9. Melissa Stuck says:

    It is amazing how well this letter that was written over 30 years ago fits today’s situation. What a powerful statement, and what a powerful God shining through this wonderful vessel!

  10. Thelma Bradshaw-Mandera says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I loved Corrie Ten Boom. I have her devotional book “Each New Day”. I love this book.

    1. My pleasure. Truth never gets old. Yes, Corrie’s devotional is good. I also like the Oswald Chambers devotional “My Utmost For His Highest” – good meaty stuff.

  11. Samia Sedhom says:

    I love your blog, Garth!

  12. Elaine Heaton Farmer says:

    Thank you for posting this!! I want to post it, in a note, and send it out! Every one needs so badly to read these words, from Corries Ten Boom! I loved her!!! And she has taught me much, never forgetting her words!

  13. Sharon Zook says:

    Thank YOu or posting the wisdom of that saint of God. It is good to follow it so as to be ready for the coming tribulation.

  14. The life of Corrie Ten Boom is a refection of a person who tries to see the

    goodness in everyone. She showed compassion beyond compare. She and her family are people whom we should emulate.

  15. jeff elohim says:

    the world is dying…. who cares…. who is caring for one another ….. where are the disciples laying down their life for one another … .. .. .. .. .
    keep seeking, keep looking, bove all KEEP PRAYING for the times are impossible!!!!! the days now, today, are worse than ever before in history. pray to Yhwh in the Name of Yahshua )NOT the h.s.~! ( for strength and wisdom to endure until the end.

  16. jeff elohim says:

    “It is amazing how well this letter that was written over 30 years ago fits today’s situation. ”

    … and like a tsunami today evil has filled the u.s.a. as if 60(or600?) feet deep! …
    ..instead of publishing the cure for cancer, it is prohibited.
    ..instead of teaching biblical lessons, wickednesses staggeringly bigger than hitler in power..
    ..instead of being a place of refuge, the religious encampments are traps, tombs for souls..
    …”the world is deathly ill”.. corrie ten boom said…
    “It is amazing how well this letter that was written over 30 years ago fits today’s situation. ”
    anyone remember Yahshua said this thousands of years ago(i.e.not just 30)? – Yahshua said “society is pernicious and stupid”…
    pernicious means “CAUSING deathly ill”, not just ill, but literally and truthfully causing death! – THAT is the SHOCK. the politics, the doctors, the economics, the chruches actually CAUSE death instead of LIFE. They are dead, and cannot give life.
    Only Yahshua(Jesus) can give life, and the world does not accept Him.

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