Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

This was an amazing book. As soon as I finished it, I felt like I should just start reading it again because it was filled with such faith-promoting, incredible experiences. It is a true story about this woman, Corrie Ten Boom, who lived in Holland during WWII. She was around 50 years old when the war started, and she became one of the central figures in the underground operation to hide and save Jews from the Germans. She and her older sister, Betsie, never married, but lived with their father while they ran this operation. (Her other siblings and their families and children were incredibly involved as well.) I've never encountered such loving people who genuinely see the best in people. By the end, I was just sobbing in amazement. There just didn't seem to be an end to the many lives that she changed; the hundreds (maybe thousands) of lives that she brought to Christ - she helped change hearts. Amazing! When I read books like this, it makes me wonder what more I could do with my life. What does the Lord have in store for me? What can I do to really make a difference in people's lives? I know this isn't the season of my life (I should focus first on raising my family), but what next? It was incredibly inspiring, and really help to put in perspective how Christ can heal us when we have been damaged. Through the help of others, Christ's atonement can work no matter how badly we've been hurt. Highly recommended!

Greg made fun of me because I kept a pen with me while I read this book so I could mark my favorite passages. There were so many! As I went through the book again, reviewing the parts that I had marked, I realized that some of the most profound are much too sacred to write on a blog. Also, if you haven't read the book, I want you be able to discover the beauty in these moments on your own. Here are a few of some other moments in the book:

"Willem (Corrie's brother) didn't try to change people, just to serve them."

"I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do."

When Corrie was a little girl, she went to a wake with her mother and saw, for the first time in her life, a dead person. She was very affected, and was so scared that her parents would die.
Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. "Corrie," he began gently, "when you and I go to Amsterdam-when do I give you your ticket?"
I sniffed a few times, considering this.
"Why, just before we get on the train."
"Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things, too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time."

"There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety...His timing is perfect, His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in Your will! Don't let me go mad by poking about outside it."

One night when Corrie and her family considered quitting the underground: "That night Father and Betsie and I prayed long after the others had gone to bed. We knew that in spite of daily mounting risks we had no choice but to move forward. This was evil's hour: we could not run away from it. Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God's power alone be free to work."

When they were being arrested for hiding Jews:
Suddenly the chief interrogator's eye fell on Father. "That old man!" he cried. "Did he have to be arrested? You, old man!"
Willem led Father up to the desk. The Gestapo chief leaned forward. "I'd like to send you home, old fellow," he said. "I'll take your word that you won't cause any more trouble."
"If I go home today," he said evenly and clearly, "tomorrow I will open my door again to any man in need who knocks."

Corrie questioned Betsie about why they had to suffer in the concentration camp and how long they would be there. This is Betsie's reply:
"Perhaps a long, long time. Perhaps many years. But what better way could there be to spend our lives?"
I turned to stare at her. "Whatever are you talking about?"
"These young women. That girl back at the bunkers. Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way, you and I, no matter how long it takes..."
She went on, almost forgetting in her excitement to keep her voice to a whisper, while I slowly took in the fact that she was talking about our (German) guards. I glanced at the matron seated at the desk ahead of us. I saw a gray uniform and a visored hat; Betsie saw a wounded human being.
And I wondered, not for the first time, what sort of a person she was, this sister of mine...what kind of a road she followed while I trudged beside her on the all-too-solid earth.

Betsie said to Corrie while in the concentration camp: "We must tell people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here."


Kimberly Porter said...

I remember reading this book when I was a teenager, but I don't remember all of the wonderful symbolism of the gospel. Thanks for sharing this. I think I will have to pick up this book again.

Jen said...

I'm so glad you liked it!!