I did not know what to expect when I began reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I knew it was her account of her experience in Holland and Germany during the Holocaust, but that was all I knew. Would this book be terribly depressing? Would I be able to read it?
Corrie begins her story relating growing up in Holland with her family and vividly describes their life in pre-war Haarlem, a small town in Holland. I was drawn in to her descriptions of the extended family members living with them in their small rooms above the families' watchmaker shop. You gradually see things begin to change in their community as Holland becomes occupied by Germany and Jewish persecution becomes stronger.
She and her family began to provide help to the Jews in and around their neighborhood by getting them ration cards, a safe place to stay for a night or so as they traveled to another city or even letting them live with them . Corrie used her wits and her connections in her community to become a leader in the Jewish underground evacuation movement. It was interesting to read about how the underground network worked, and how extensive it was. Even with the constant risk of arrest, ordinary people banded together to do their part to save many lives.
The Hiding Place refers not only to a small secret room built in Corrie's own bedroom to safely hide the Jewish people living with them in case of a raid, but the safe hiding place that Jesus offers. Corrie's faith in God remained strong throughout her experiences helping the Jews in Haarlem, while she was in prison and even in the concentration camp. She may not have always understood, but she turned to God for guidance and strength. Corrie, along with her sister Betsie, influenced so many of their fellow prisoners and even German guards with the light of Jesus that radiated through them in the darkness.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"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."
"Our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things, too. Don't run 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."
"Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings, Corrie. It's something we make inside ourselves."
Corrie and Betsie found much strength from this passage from I Thessalonians 5: 14-18
"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Reading The Hiding Place was very moving and inspiring. Corrie's faith, in all circumstances, was an encouragement to me.
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