Someone to Confide In

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Someone to Confide In

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What comes to your mind when you hear the name Anne Frank? World War II, the Holocaust, Judaism? I, like most, had heard of Anne Frank, but never took the time to read her diary. It was while visiting my favorite college hangout, the San Antonio College library, that I finally checked out Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne was born in Germany on June 12, 1929, to Otto and Edith Frank. Due to growing anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews), Anne, her older sister, Margot, and their parents immigrated to the Netherlands in the early 1930s. As a reader, you first meet Anne on June 12, 1942, her 13th birthday. She opens her diary with this statement, "I hope I will be able to confide everything to you as I have never been able to confide in anyone and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support." At the time she wrote this, Anne could not have fathomed to what extent her diary would serve as her greatest confidant and comforter. On July 8, 1942, the Franks, along with another Jewish family, went into hiding due to growing anti-Semitism in what had been their Dutch safe haven. For over two years, Anne, her sister and parents lived in their "Secret Annex" in a spice warehouse. Writing down her thoughts while in hiding, Anne gives the reader a glimpse of not only what daily life was like for the Franks, but also a peek into the heart and mind of a teenage girl struggling to find herself during a time of chaos and death. Despite her youth, through her writing Anne showed great strength and courage in a time when most would be weak and cowardly. On Aug. 4, 1944, SS officers discovered the "Secret Annex" and the eight Jews inside. After being sent to a number of concentration camps, Margot and Anne Frank arrived at Bergen Belsen, a camp near Hannover, Germany. Due to the high concentration of prisoners, lack of sanitation and malnutrition, Margot and Anne died of typhus in early 1945. Just a few weeks later, on April 12, 1945, Bergen Belsen was liberated by British troops. Out of the eight people who went into hiding in the Annex, Otto Frank, Anne's father, was the only one to survive the Holocaust. Anne's life ended three months short of her 16th birthday. Despite her short and tragic life, I believe we as Christians can learn a great deal from her. By learning what hardships she faced at such a tender age and how she dealt with them, we can better evaluate how we are handling our own challenges and trials in life. If we suddenly found ourselves under the same persecution as young Anne, would we exhibit her same strength of character? Would we trust God to the point of death? Before returning the diary to the library, I asked myself these questions. To be honest, I am doubtful that I would have the strength and faith needed under such dire circumstances. While Anne took solace and comfort by writing in her diary during the trials she faced, as members of God's family we have access to God's Holy Spirit to help us through our difficult times. What a much greater comfort is God's Spirit to the children of God! I believe that if we apply Anne's opening statement of her diary to God and our relationship with Him, we will be able to face this world and the challenges it presents with greater strength of character and faith. "I hope I will be able to confide everything to you as I have never been able to confide in anyone and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support." VT