Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

8.24.2010

Invictus


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

When you are dying—when you stand at the gate of eternity—you see things from a different perspective than when you think you may live for a long time….Every time I saw the smoke pouring from the hideous smokestacks I knew it was the last remains of some poor woman who had been with me in Ravensbruck.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

But I was not afraid. Following Betsie’s death, God’s Presence was even more real. Even though I was looking into the valley of the shadow of death, I was not afraid.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It is here that Jesus comes the closest, taking our hand, and leading us through. One week before the order came to kill all the women of my age, I was free. I still do not understand all the details of my release from Ravensbruck.


It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

All I know is, it was a miracle of God.


“Invictus” or “unconquered”—beautiful words put together that touched my heart and sorrowed my soul. For, in the midst of the courage, the optimism, and the determination, is complete and utter faith in man—humanism. Corrie ten Boom’s story made of simple, real sentences challenges even the most adroit reader because of the unfathomable atrocities she survives. Yet, despite the grimness and in the midst of her courage, optimism, and determination is complete and utter faith in God.

How natural, how right, it seems to say, “No matter what, I will determine my destiny! I will control my soul!” It seems positively American to whittle oneself a walking stick rather than lean on a Divine shoulder. It is habit to wake up each morning and bow to idols—ourselves—in submission. It is politically correct to hold man’s thoughts on evolution, healthy eating, homosexuality, and divorce in higher esteem than Scripture. Man fights viciously for his own rights, desires, needs, and reputation. Americans sacrifice unborn babies on the altar of their own selfish volition.

We worship ourselves. In the direst of circumstances, we look inward with faith and determination. We are humanists. “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:10).”

Humanism is a lie as old as time, beginning from the first temptation of the serpent who suggested that Eve could become like God. Man is not God; man is a lowly, sinful, depraved creation capable of no righteousness except through God and deserving of nothing but hell. If that sounds harsh, it is because humanism has not only infiltrated our movies, music, books, politics, and education, but also our theology and churches. We are born humanists, selfish and materialistic little deities around which the world revolves. Once God picks us up out of our filth and saves us, we are not vaccinated against humanism, though; having a Biblical worldview equires daily cleansing in the Word and daily deference to a sovereign God.


Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Humanism sounds so heroic, but what place does chance have in a Christian's life?

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,

Humanism sounds so pragmatic, but what place does fear of the future have in a Christian's life?

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Humanism sounds so beautiful, but it is a lie. Because ultimately, the strait gate will matter. At the Great White Throne, captains and masters are no match for the fate of one's soul; it is God Who will remain unconquered, and not man.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Romans 12:1-3).”



Picture Credit
Italicized Poem: Henley, William Ernest (1888). A book of verses: Invictus. London: D. Nutt.
Quotations interspersed with "Invictus": ten Boom, Corrie. Tramp for the Lord. Pillar Books, New York, 1976.
"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

7 comments:

  1. All I can say is amen... very needed reminders.

    I came to your blog through your comment on Joyfully at Home. :)

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  2. yes what a great reminder! We can do nothing! We are not conquerors by our own doing, but we conquer through Christ Jesus! thanks for the encouraging words!

    In Christ,
    Rebecca

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  3. Well, thanks for visiting, Anna, and even more thanks for commenting and letting us know you stopped by!
    Rebecca--I love your enthusiasm. This is definitely something to get excited about!

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  4. Isn't it awful how something so hideous can sound so noble? It would be much easier if what was wrong sounded wrong! How wonderful that we live in a country where we can daily study truth, and consequently see and refute the lies!
    Thanks, Mika, for refuting so well and for encouraging us to critically analyze the assumptions found in our everyday lives! Love ya!

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  5. I love this post. It seems, as I look around at some of my peers, that they want to be Christian and humanist...they want to fit in with the world and be "cool" with God. It's obvious to me that God doesn't work this way. We should be in or out, on fire or cold as ice. And yet, what Sarah Jayne said is true..."It would be much easier if what was wrong sounded wrong." So true. It has been so hard trying to show the truth of Christ to my friends who want to stay in their currently comfortable place of "in-between." I only pray that God opens their eyes soon...and opens all of our eyes to Himself and away from ourselves. Thanks for posting.

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  6. Yes, yes, yes, Sarah and Samantha! Despite the friends around us who are "in-between" and the right sounding wrong words that abound, you have given me hope. If we continue to live on fire for the Lord, the difference between humanism and Christianity will become unmistakeable to us and clearer to those around us.

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  7. Great post. I really enjoyed, and it came just at the right time for me (see my last blog). I have often asked myself how far my own faith would take me. Would I be willing to go hungry and thirsty? Would I suffer ridicule and hatred? Would I risk my own life? Then I remember that the faith is not mine,it was given to me by the One who cannot fail, and He will finish what he has started, no matter how treacherous the path, and how irresistible the temptation of humanism is. Humanism is nothing more than the devil's old lie in new clothing;"...and you shall become like gods..."

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