Below is an excerpt from the Conclusion of the July 21, 1974 Plenary Session of the International Congress on World Evangelization, with comments by Billy Graham and Corrie Ten Boom. A powerful, moving testimony to Christ's transformative powers, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
BILLY GRAHAM: I never cease to be amazed and thrilled at the diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and how God is working in so many different ways throughout the world. And here we are sharing them together during this time today. While we are gathered here, the headlines of the newspapers outside are dangerous and ominous.
A war has already started in Cyprus, and I think that we should be praying. The Americans have alerted their fleet. The Russians have alerted theirs. Diplomats are meeting. One British diplomat said last night "The cork has popped out of the bottle, and it may never go back in again." And I believe that we should be in prayer during this day that if it please God, that this trouble may be confined to a relatively small area of the world, and not drag the whole world in. The second thing, is I'm asking all of you to be in prayer a great deal about the service this afternoon, people are coming from France, all the way from Paris by the hundreds. They're coming from Brussels, and from Belgium, and from all over Switzerland, and parts of Germany. We don't know how many people will be there, it is an evangelistic service, and this afternoon when the appeal is given, I'm asking all of you to be in a spirit of prayer, and that we may see people come to Christ this day, in this city of Lausanne. This meeting is much on the hearts of the believers of this great city. Now, this morning has been one of the high points of this congress, and the best is yet to come, because seldom in one's lifetime does one have the privilege of meeting or working, and hearing, a person who is a legend in her own lifetime. Corrie Ten Boom was the first official woman watchmaker in Holland. [scattered applause] And during the Second World War, she and her family helped protect and save many Jews. Because of that, she and her family were condemned to the concentration and the death camps. Her father was killed, her sister, and the week that she was to die, she miraculously escaped. Since then, she has toured the world, preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, winning many to Christ, by both her writings and her preaching, and now a motion picture has been made on her life, that we think is the finest religious motion picture ever made, and will be in contention, we believe, for an Academy Award this coming year. It'll be released early next year. It's called The Hiding Place. And many of you are going to want to see that in many languages. But Corrie Ten Boom, there's a new book about her, and by her, called A Tramp for God. And I want to introduce her today as one of the great women that it's been my privilege to meet in secular or religious life, but I want to introduce her as what she fondly likes to be known as, a Tramp for God. Corrie Ten Boom of Holland.
CORRIE TEN BOOM: And this all what you heard has taught me to obey the Lord. In the Bible we read, in Colossians 1:11, "As you live this new life with Jesus Christ, we pray that you will be strengthened from God's boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to plan through any experience, and endure it with courage." God's boundless resources we find when we obey the commandment: "Be filled with the Spirit." This is not a suggestion. The Bible has no suggestions, only commandments, and this is the most happy commandment of the whole Bible. When the Lord told us to witness, and make to disciples over the whole world, He promised, "You will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you." To me, a little story of a bird, a woodpecker, has helped me in this. That woodpecker picked with his beak against the stem of a tree, like they are used to do, but that very moment, a lightning struck the tree, and destroyed it. And the woodpecker flew away, and said, "I didn't know that there was so much power in my beak."
TEN BOOM: I don't ask you "Have you the Holy Spirit?" but "Has the Holy Spirit you?" When I was a little girl, I remember that my father [clears throat] that I would talk with my father, and I said "Daddy, I will never be strong enough to be a real witness, and a martyr for Jesus." And father said "When you go to travel, when do I give you the train tickets or the money for it, three weeks before?" I said "No daddy, the day that I go to travel." And Father said "That is what God does. You don't need to be...have the power to be...a sufferer for Jesus at this moment. But the moment that you have the...the great honor to be a martyr for Jesus, the Lord will give you everything." And I have experienced the Holy.... We hath not a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind. And the Holy Spirit is there always, to do the job, to make us ready. We live in a time that we can expect the Lord Jesus coming very soon. Many of the signs of the time are very clear, and it's very important that we are ready for Jesus' coming. Peter writes "Because you have a hope like this before you, I urge you to make certain that such a day would find you at peace with God and with man, clear and blameless in his sight." Sometimes I tremble when I think that that is necessary, to be right with God and right with man. But in the...in Russia, I once got a great...comfortable...story. A Russian said: "There was a big apartment house, many people lived there, and they all put their junk in the...in the basement. But there was in the basement also a beautiful harp, but it was broken, and nobody could repair it. Once there came a tramp, and said 'May I sleep this night in your house? It is such a terrible snowstorm.' And they said 'We have no guest rooms, but you can sleep in the basement.' After some hours they suddenly heard beautiful music in the basement, and the owner of the harp came down and said 'How can you...could you repair that harp?' And the man said: 'I have made this harp, and when you can make...have had made something, you can also repair it.'" Who has made you? Wasn't it God? Wasn't it that nothing has been made without Jesus? Do you think He is able to make you good and blameless and right with God and man, so that you will be ready for Jesus' coming? He is able, and he will do it. For it is written that Paul prayed "May the God of Peace make you holy through and through, may you be kept in spirit, soul and body, in spotless integrity, until the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ." Is that possible? Is spotless integrity? You, and I? Yes. For the rest of the text is "He who calls you is utterly faithful, and He will finish what He has set out to do."
TEN BOOM: The Holy Spirit shows us many things, as it were, from God's point of view. The Holy Spirit gives you wisdom to cast your burdens on the Lord, because he gives us spiritual insight and understanding. I was in Vietnam, and I was there not a thermometer, but a thermostat. Do you know what I mean? The thermometer kind of goes with the heat and the cold, up and down. A thermostat brings a cold room immediately in contact with a source of heat, and so restores the temperature. I carried the load of suffering that I saw in the hospitals, in the tribes, in the front line. And the Holy Spirit showed me that I had to cast my burden on the Lord. We are not called to be burden-bearers, but cross-bearers and fruit-bearers. So I could be used as an open channel of streams of living water. In my work to do...bring the Gospel in many places, I sometimes feel weak and old. Not adequate to speak in so many different meetings. But I trust what we heard today again and again, "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you." The Holy Spirit gives power, and we can never expect too much from him. He points to the Cross where Jesus finished all for our redemption. And obedience and surrender is the answer. I was comforted by a story told in New Zealand. A little boy went with his father over a bridge. It was a very small bridge, and he was scared and said "Daddy, I'm afraid. Do you see this water underneath us?" and the father said "Boy, give me your hand." Then he was not afraid any longer. But in the evening, he had to go again over the bridge, and now it was pitch-dark. Then he said "Daddy I am more scared than this morning" And then, the father took the little boy in his arms, and immediately, the boy fall asleep, and awakened in his own little bed. That is surrender to the Lord Jesus. And that is what the Holy Spirit teaches us, how that we are safe in Jesus' hands. When I was in prison, where my sister died, and 95,000 women were killed or died, I experienced the same what Paul has written to...to the Philippians when he was in a terrible prison. The Holy Spirit had pointed him to Jesus, as He did with me. And I can say with him what he wrote in the text: "I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege," (I am reading from the Amplified New Testament) the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and the supreme advantage of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord and of progressively, more intimately getting acquainted with him." That happened when I was in that terrible prison. That can happen with you when you let the Holy Spirit turn your eyes more and more to the Lord Jesus, even when we are perhaps entering now a time of very great darkness and suffering over the world [clears throat]. The world is very sick, very ill. Who is it that overcomes the world? He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. And I am sure that all of us believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That means that you and I, that we all have to overcome our world, and that is hope for our world. The best is yet to be. Jesus is coming, and He has said "I will make everything new." And that this world, yes, this sick, ill world will be covered with the knowledge of God like the waters cover the bottom of the sea! What a joy to know from the word of God that God has no problems, only plans. There's never a panic in Heaven. And [clears throat] we have to be right with God, and we know it. That is because of the finished work of Jesus at the Cross. And we have to be right with men also, because of Jesus' presence. "The love of God He will bring into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us." Romans 5:5. I love the Germans. There's not a country where I work with such a great joy. My greatest friends live in that, um...country. But sometimes I find people who have been cruel to me in the concentration camp. Once, I saw a lady in the meeting, and suddenly I saw that woman was the nurse who was so cruel to my dying sister. And there came hatred and bitterness in my heart. But when I felt that there was hatred and bitterness in my heart, I knew I have not forgiven her. And I know, and you know that Jesus has said (you can read it in Matthew 5) "If you do not forgive those who have sinned against you, my heavenly father will not forgive you your sins." But I said "Oh, Lord, I cannot, I am not able!" And suddenly I saw it. I cashed the check of Romans 5:5. I said "Thank you Lord Jesus, that you have brought into my heart, God's love through the Holy Spirit who is given to me, and thank you Father that your love in me is stronger than my bitterness and hatred." And I could go to that nurse, and I could shake hands with her, and I had the joy to be used by the Lord to bring her to a decision for the Lord Jesus. What a joy!
TEN BOOM: It is good to know to know that it's not a trying and trying heart. John Bunyan made a very good little poem:
Run, John, run the law commands
But gives us neither feet or hands
Far better news the Gospel brings
As it says "Fly," and gives us wings.
TEN BOOM: Isn't that good? I love that. When the Lord says "Love your enemies," He gives you the love that He demands from you. There is an ocean of God's love, and that love is available for you, and that we can be made that we love our enemies, and that we can become 'mashed potatoes.' Hallelujah.
TEN BOOM: One of the most cruel things I have suffered was when in the concentration camp, we had to stand naked. They stripped us of all our clothing. And I said to Betsy, my sister, "I cannot bear this, this is so terrible." But it was suddenly as if I saw Jesus at the Cross. It was the Holy Spirit who turned my eyes to Jesus. And the Bible tells that He...they hanged there naked, they stripped him of all his garments, and he hung there for me, and by my suffering, I could understand a fraction of the suffering of Jesus. And it made me so happy, so thankful that I could bear my suffering! Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all. The Holy Spirit will turn your eyes to Jesus, whatever happens. And then we are ready. We are even willing and we are able to suffer. Emma Carmichael has written: "We have a scarred Captain, should not we have scars?" Under his mighty banners, we are going to the wars. Lest we forget Lord, when we meet, show us your hands and feet. And may the love, mercy, and power of Jesus Christ be multiplied to you during this time of titanic spiritual warfare. The Lord wins, and is able to hold us up and cause us to triumph in all situations that we may have to face. Hallelujah! Jesus was victor, he is victor, and he will be victor! Amen.