In the early years of the 20th century the American journalist, James Creelman, was travelling through the Balkans in search of the exiled queen of Serbia. Quite by chance he discovered that at the time the world’s supply of rose oil came from the Balkan Mountains. What fascinated him the most was the fact that the roses were harvested in the early hours of the morning, because if the roses were harvested during the day up to 40% of the fragrance would be lost.
As with the roses so with human character – it is often during the darkest and toughest seasons of life that a person’s character is so tested and strengthened that it afterwards radiates great beauty. Take for example Corrie and Betsie ten Boom, two Dutch sisters who were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp in 1944, as punishment for sheltering Jews. In the horror of the camp they refused to hate those who had betrayed them and those who imprisoned them, instead holding services and teaching their fellow prisoners about a God of love and forgiveness from the Bible. Shortly before her death in December 1944, Betsie told Corrie, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still”, urging her that if she was released she must tell the world and adding, “They will believe you, because we were here.”