As an English teacher, I always enjoyed asking my new students the name of their favorite book--or books!--at the start of the school year. It's a question I still like to ask students, as the answers so often give insight into their personalities and interests. Given everything going on locally and globally right now, I thought I might share a little about a favorite book of mine, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
Corrie Ten Boom, her sister, Betsie, and her father, Casper, were residents of Haarlem in the Netherlands during the early part of the 20th century. The story Corrie tells primarily occurs in the years leading up to and during the second World War.
Corrie’s sister, Betsie, was something of an ‘angel on earth,’ always finding ways to see the best in people and in her circumstances. Her father was regarded as Haarlem’s ‘Grand Old Man,’ an expert watchmaker who was revered and respected by many. Corrie presents herself as very much down-to-earth and full of flaws. She was devoted to her father and regularly amazed by her sister’s optimism and goodness. They were united as a family by their unshakable faith in God, the redeeming grace of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, and the guiding inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
During the occupation of the Netherlands, this devout Christian family sheltered Jewish people in their home (which is now a museum). They were something of an unlikely group of conspirators: Corrie and her sister were in their mid-50s, and their father was in his 80s. Yet opportunities to assist others, even at great personal risk, repeatedly presented themselves to the Ten Booms, and they responded with love and alacrity.
Corrie and her family ultimately were betrayed by an informant, arrested, and sent to concentration camps. Contrary to what one might expect, the story that Corrie goes on to tell in The Hiding Place is overwhelmingly affirmative of the providence and grace of God. Throughout the many unfathomable challenges their family faced in a time of national crisis, she found repeated evidence that God was present--even during the very darkest moments of captivity--guiding their steps, protecting them, and inspiring them. He was their hiding place.
Every time I read The Hiding Place I am reminded of what is so easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: God has a plan for our lives. It is always a good plan, even though we might not see the design of His work in the day-to-day experiences we encounter and we might not be able to see ‘good’ in the moment. He loves us beyond measure, and He cares for us each as His precious children. Corrie's story is one of the power of prayer and the providence of God in even the tiniest of details of our lives.
Right now, in March 2020, things feel very much uncertain with the current global health crisis. If we step back and reflect, though, we might agree that each day holds uncertainty, yet we so often trust that all will be well as we go about our daily lives. Let’s trust that God has the weeks and years ahead under control, just as He has had the weeks and years past under control. He loves us! This year, this Lent, let’s remember to trust in His plans for us and rest in His care.
"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He can see."
~ Corrie Ten Boom