At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an old-maid watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, a story did ensue.
Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story.
“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
There aren’t words to properly convey the significance of this book. It read like a modern book of the Bible, full of miracles during a time of such incredible despair and hardship. I’m always astounded, when reading memoirs of this era, how regular people were able to pull together to become the world’s greatest heroes. The simplest acts were sometimes the most courageous. They thought their actions were too little, yet they seem monumental in the context of history.
With the world in despair again, it probably seemed an odd choice to read this book right now, but I found it put things in perspective for our current situation. During times of adversity, the worst traits in humanity become more visible, but more importantly, the good people shine brighter than ever. Corrie and her family never let their faith fade. They were constantly on the lookout for God’s guiding hand. When times were impossibly challenging and downright hopeless, they pulled through to encourage and help others. I was constantly inspired by Corrie’s accounts of her sister, Betsie. She was a real-life angel, someone who always saw the best in people and in every situation.
Despite the heartbreaking events in Corrie’s life that left me in tears, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of hope. No matter what difficulties we face, God will draw near to those who are near to Him. There is always something to be thankful for if only we can remember to keep our eyes and hearts open.
Rating: 5 stars