So implored Corrie ten Boom’s sister as she lay ill as a prisoner at Ravensbruck concentration camp, during World War II. I’m so glad Corrie listened to her sister, and told us their story. What an incredible story it is.
I don’t want to say much more about the particulars of the story, just in case there’s one other Christian in the world besides me who had not read The Hiding Place before. If by any chance you fall into that category, YOU MUST OBTAIN A COPY OF THE BOOK AND READ IT NOW!
When I finished the book, I thought of Philemon 1:6, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Something happens when we share our own faith stories—and listening to others’—that draws our hearts closer to God’s. When I read a story like The Hiding Place, I’m reminded: My faith, my God, is real. I’m not making this stuff up.
I have also found it true that our greatest ministry and our surest credibility as Christians flow from our darkest hours. Corrie ten Boom saw the glory of the Lord shine most brilliantly in the black hell of a concentration camp. When the ten Booms say, “There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety,” I’m prone to believe it. Because this is no Sunday school cliché thrown out by someone like me, who’s never known real danger.
I marveled at the clarity of Corrie and Betsie’s visions, and at Betsie’s wisdom about one of the reasons God gives them: “That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know—to tell us that this too is in His hands.”
I was fascinated by the discussions among Corrie’s family about whether it was OK to lie or steal to protect the lives of the innocent. And I loved that God honored those who fell on both sides of the argument.
I was reminded of this wisdom, which I so often forget: “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.” I couldn’t believe Corrie was able to forgive all her captors. But she knew by that living in bitterness, she would only keep herself imprisoned, not those who so brutally mistreated her. She knew she couldn’t possibly forgive in her own power, so she asked God to forgive her tormentors through her. And in God’s power, she not only forgave but lavishly loved on them, and so displayed Jesus for all to see.
I have a new hero.
The first of many (I hope) to learn from this year! Join me in reading The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. this month. (FYI, I noticed the Kindle edition is only $4.99 right now.)
Who else loves The Hiding Place? How has it impacted your life? Have you read any of Corrie ten Boom’s books? Or did anyone have the privilege of hearing her speak or actually meeting her in person?