Many years ago I read this story in “Tramp For The Lord”, written by Corrie ten Boom. Many of you might remember the movie “The Hiding Place” which came from her life’s experiences in a book she wrote by the same name.
Corrie ten Boom wrote “The Hiding Place” when she was nearly 79 years old. She wrote “Tramp For The Lord” when she was 83. Corrie ten Boom was released from the notorious Nazi concentration camp in 1945 when she was 50 years old. All the women her age were gassed and executed a month after her release. It was found to be a clerical error. Her sister died in that camp, her father died on the way to it. The unspeakable horrors of Ravensbruck did not make her bitter but rather she embraced God’s forgiveness for her German captors and gave herself completely to share God’s love and forgiveness wherever she could. Fearless and tireless she poured her energy to the end of her life.
She wrote 54 books, countless devotionals and traveled to 66 countries. This began after she turned 50 and she never slowed down. At 85 she was doing movie shorts and devotionals and while partially paralyzed just before she died at 91, she finished her last devotional. One Finger For His Glory is a true life story of Corrie ten Boom visiting a woman in Russia who had translated some of her books. She went to simply say “thank you”. I am sure that what transpired when she met this woman, name unknown, forever impacted her to only give her all to the Lord Jesus Christ for His glory. Here is the story…
“And there came a certain poor widow and she threw in two mites…
And he saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, then all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” Mark 12:42-44
One Finger For His Glory
We arrived at her apartment by night in order to escape detection. We were in Russia(in the region of Lithuania on the Baltic Sea). Ellen and I had climbed the steep stairs, coming through a small back door into the one room apartment. It was jammed with furniture, evidence that the old couple had once lived in a much larger and much finer house.
The old woman was lying on a small sofa, propped up by pillows. Her body was bent and twisted almost beyond recognition by the dread disease of multiple sclerosis. Her aged husband spent all his time caring for her since she was unable to move off the sofa.
I walked across the room and kissed her wrinkled cheek. She tried to look up but the muscles in her neck were atrophied so she could only roll her eyes upward and smile. She raised her right hand, slowly, in jerks. It was the only part of her body she could control and with her gnarled and deformed knuckles she caressed my face. I reached over and kissed her index finger, for it was with this one finger that she so long glorified God.
Beside her couch was a vintage typewriter. Each morning her faithful husband would rise, praising the Lord. After caring for his wife’s needs and feeding her a simple breakfast, he would prop her into a sitting position on the couch, placing pillows all around her she would not topple over. Then he would move that ancient black typewriter in front of her on a small table. From an old cupboard he would remove a stack of cheap yellow paper. Then, with that blessed one finger, she would begin to type.
All day and far into the night she would type. She translated Christian books into Russian, Latvian and the language of her people. Always using that one finger….peck…peck….peck, she typed out the pages. Portions of the Bible, the books of Billy Graham, Watchman Nee and Corrie ten Boom. All came from that typewriter…that was why I was there, to thank her.
She was hungry to hear news about these men of God she never met, yet whose books she had so faithfully translated. We talked about Watchman Nee, who was then in prison in China, and I told her all I knew of his life and ministry. I also told her of the wonderful ministry of Billy Graham and of the many people who were giving their lives to the Lord.
“Not only does she translater their books”, her husband said as he hovered close by during our conversations, “but she prays for these men everyday while she types. Sometimes it takes a long time for her finger to hit the key, or for her to get the paper in the machine, but the time she is praying for those whose books she is working on”.
I looked at her wasted form on the sofa, her head pulled down and her feet curled back under her body. “Oh Lord, why don’t you heal her?”, I cried inwardly. Her husband sensing my anguish of soul, gave the answer. “God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is being watched by the secret police. But because she has been sick so long, no one ever looks in on her. They leave us alone and she is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police”.
I looked around the tiny room, so jammed full of furniture from better days. In one corner was the kitchen. Beside the cupboard was her husbands “office”, a battered desk where he sorted out the pages that came from her typewriter, to pass then on to the Christians. I thought of Jesus sitting over against the treasury, and my heart leaped for joy as I heard Jesus bless this old woman, who like the widow, had given all she had.
What a warrior!!
When she enters the beautiful city
And the saved all around appear
Many people around her will tell her
It was you that invited me here
Ellen and I returned to Holland where we were able to obtain an new typewriter and have it shipped to her. Now she could make carbon copies of her translations.
Today we got a letter from her husband. In the early morning hours she left to be with the Lord. But he said she had worked up till midnight, typing with that one finger to the glory of God.
I do not know what happens to you when you read this. This story for everyone, no matter what age anyone is. Corrie ten Boom became well known throughout the world. Starting at 50 till she died at 91, she impacted untold millions. This woman, name unknown, crippled with multiple sclerosis, with only one finger to use for God, used it. She was not limited by her disease, her circumstances, what she could NOT do.
“Sometimes it takes a long time for her finger to hit the key, or for her to get the paper in the machine, but all the time she is praying for those whose books she is working on”.
A long time for one finger to hit the key…..a long time to get paper into the typewriter…..praying all the time for those whose books she is translating…..from early morning to late every night, till the day she dies…..for His glory….
“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld….
All by Himself, beholding the widow….that world means to contemplate deeply, deeply consider, be a spectator, viewing attentively….peck….peck….peck….
This word behold also means, “to enjoy the presence of one, speaking of important persons who are looked on with admiration”…
Jesus looking on with admiration, He was there all the time, enjoying the presence of this woman who did not allow her limitations, her suffering, her age to stop her from doing what she could do to glorify Him.