from THE HIDING PLACE
Corrie ten Boom
And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sex sin?”
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.
Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
It’s too heavy,” I said.
Yes,” he said, “and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”
Yesterday was inauguration day in America and we witnessed an enormous exchange of both power and accountability. I am always amazed to see how much a person ages when they become President of the United States. They seem to go in with dark hair and come out with grey. I can only imagine the knowledge they are forced to bear and how the grave responsibilities of the office must weigh on their minds. Politics aside, we should pray for our leaders every day.
That also helps me to avoid questioning God when I don’t understand His ways. We don’t have enough wisdom to manage our own lives, much less so the affairs of the universe. The Bible says we should look to God as our Father and seek His will in our lives.
Why would we do otherwise?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Art: The Atlas Slave by Michelangelo, 1525–30.
Literature and Liturgy – The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Swiss theologian Karl Barth opposed the twisting of German Protestant beliefs into nationalism, sparking the inception of the Confessing Church, which opposed Nazi influence in Christianity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the founders of the Confessing Church, advocated the assassination of Adolph Hitler and was hanged in a concentration camp in 1945. In 1943, the BBC broadcast a series of talks from Oxford don C. S. Lewis, a collection that would later become Mere Christianity. French theologian Jacques Ellul was forced to hide in the Bourdeaux countryside and became a member of the French Resistance. Brother Andrew van der Bijl, who we talked about previously, waged a single-handed partisan campaign on occupying forces in the Dutch lowlands as a teenager. As the Axis powers fell—the echoes of a worldwide conflict, the horrors of genocide, the sheer crushing weight of the consequences—the church was left to grapple with what remained. Broadly, and particularly in North America, the church rejected pacifism, embraced Christian Zionism, and fascism fell off the map as a viable political option.
Through all this upheaval, there was Corrie Ten Boom, the youngest daughter of a well-regarded Dutch family from Haarlem. Two years after the Blitzkrieg tore through The Netherlands, the Ten Booms joined the Dutch resistance. Due to Corrie’s charity work and her family’s reputation, she became a connector for the resistance in Haarlem. The Ten Booms were able to procure additional ration cards, and for two years hid Jewish refugees in a specially-designed hidden room in their home.
The family was finally arrested in early 1944 due to a Gestapo informant, and Corrie and her sister were eventually moved to the notorious Ravensbruck concentration camp in northern Germany. In December of that year, Corrie’s sister, Betsie, died. A few weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, Corrie Ten Boom was released from Ravensbruck due to a clerical error. Two weeks after that, all female prisoners of the camp around Corrie’s age were killed.
The Hiding Place, the story of the Ten Booms’ experience, became one of the most well-known books about the Holocaust and the underground lattice of dissenters who risked their lives to save the Jews.
Dan Gibson, Jordan Green, and John Pattison, Besides the Bible: 100 Books That Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012).