Corrie ten Boom writes in poignant terms of her horrific experiences in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Imprisoned because she was part of a Dutch family found to be sheltering Jews, she found herself amidst some of the most unthinkable, inhumane cruelty and inexplicabley evil events of our world’s history. {If you want to know more of her story, a number of her books are still available.}

Crammed into barracks way too small, deprived of basic human dignity and provision, hundreds of women were made to stand for hours before dawn in sub-freezing weather just to satisfy the whims of their guards. In those moments, the courtyard was eerily silent except for the stamping of hundreds of feet trying to keep frostbite and death at bay.

One morning though, another sound drifted through their semi-conscious state. Long since forgotten and strangely out of place, Corrie recognized it as the song of a skylark. Looking up, she saw a sliver of color flying over their grey world. Heard a song in a place where music had long since been rendered mute.

But so much more, Corrie saw a sign her heavenly Father had not forgotten her. God’s deep love existed even in the presence of unimaginable human cruelty. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God’s {mercy} toward them that revere Him. (Psalm 103:11)

On that cold unjust morning, and ‘every morning for the next three weeks, a skylark appeared just at the time of roll call . . . .’ God revealed Himself in ‘the sweet, pure notes of a bird on the still cold air’ to let her know He would always be with her, even in a place of horrific suffering and death. (Tramp for the Lord, 83)

{The Skylark is renowned for its song in flight. The male bird rises vertically from the ground high into the air where it remains stationary for several minutes on fluttering wings, all the while singing its warbling song. It is also seen to be representative of freedom, hope and joy.}

In 2012, in the free world, I cannot begin to comprehend the pit of evil Corrie ten Boom describes at Ravensbrück. I cannot pretend to know what she endured, but I find great encouragement in her determination to seek God and believe in God’s faithfulness.

And I want to give witness to God’s presence made manifest to me through one of His creatures. For yesterday in my realm, it was a cardinal . . .

Pain had awakened with me, following me as I began my morning reading and study. Concentration compromised, harassed by pain, I prayed for God’s presence and the ability to move into the tasks of my day, when a short shrill burst of sound caught my attention. The distinct chirp seemed way too close to be coming from the feeder or birdbath in the back yard.

Curious, I peered through the slats of our blinds. And there he was. Only a couple of inches separating us, a clump of bright red feathers tiptoed across the bricks just outside my dining room window. Oblivious to the world. Revealing in being alive. Chirping a good morning call to the world, and a message to my soul from my Creator God – a reminder God is always here with me, God’s love runs deeper than anything I could possibly face today.

As joy invaded my soul, I thanked my God for His creation, for birds – their colors, their songs.

Oh God, I am grateful you were there with Corrie ten Boom in the evil night of the concentration camp and grateful your presence is with each of us in our mornings, and our nights.

Give us eyes to see, ears to hear . . . and voices to sing the songs we hear in the dark. May they be distinct melodies reminding others to look for you, expect you to come, and believe your promises to be with us, even in the darkest of nights.

Remind me to tell you about the song of the tiny wren . . . .