A hero if there ever was one: Corrie Ten Boom

So many good books going on in my life right now. I’m not even sure which to tell you about! I’ve decided to go with “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. Ever heard of her? Many haven’t but she’s been a role model of mine for years.

You see, this is actually a re-read for me. Let me back up a bit. Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie were single, Christian sisters who lived together with their Father in Holland in the early 1940s. When the Germans started taking over Europe in WW2, they chose to become part of the resistance movement and hide many Jews in their home. They helped many stay safe and played an integral part in arranging fake IDs, ration cards, papers, etc. for those that needed it. Unfortunately, their cause was unraveled, they were discovered and both women were taken to a concentration camp. It is here that their real story begins.

When I visited Holland, I stood right next to the “Hiding Place,” pictured here.

When I first read this book, I was 13 years old on a mission trip with Teen Missions, Int.’l to Holland. We were living an hour outside of Amsterdam and this book was one of the few from the book bin we were allowed to read during reading time. Sufficient to say, I was mesmerized by the book, in awe of the Corrie and Betsie’s courage and faith under all they endured. We were able to watch the movie-version of “The Hiding Place” while there — and I was just in tears. I remember that night, alone in prayer, I re-dedicated my life to Christ after being so moved by what I had read and seen. Later that month, our team was able to travel to the very house where Corrie lived and see the very room where the Jews were hidden. It was an experience I will never forget. So when Jessica chose “The Hiding Place” for book club this month, I was excited read the book that meant so much to me again.

It’s hard to believe what went on in the streets of Europe. Here is the watch shop.

The reality of praising God in ALL circumstances truly resonates in this book. Corrie’s sister Betsie was truly touched by the Lord in her ability to remain joyful and thankful no matter what happens. The truth is, as I know, we are all capable of such an attitude. Something I learned long ago and believe with all my heart is that as Christians, God has given us the ability to live out the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. But we have to tap into that God-given ability to find them.

One of the most poignant examples of this in the book is when the sisters are transferred to a new concentration camp and the beds are literally crawling with fleas. Corrie wonders how Betsie can POSSIBLY thank God for these flees. Well, it turned out months later, they discovered the only reason guards didn’t bother them in their room is because of the fleas. This created the opportunity for the women to hold a nightly bible study, which every person in the room devoured. It was almost the only “food” of any kind they hand and I’ve no doubt that in that little room, because of those fleas and God’s providence, many a person found Christ.

The entire Ten Boom family was an amazing example of humility, sacrifice and courage.

This is the third or fourth WW2 era book I’ve read in the past year but the impact is never lessened. This happened. Seventy years ago. People are still alive today who endured it. Evil never dies. It lingers, it waits to strike. That is scary. What is the next great evil? I know there is genocide in Africa and honor killings in the Middle East. There is hatred and terror the likes of which I probably don’t even know about. But. This world is temporary. These years are short. Again, I was reminded of what matters and that’s Jesus. Thank you Corrie and Betsie for the example you’ve given us to spread the hope of God no matter where we are.

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