Last week I had a pity party – a full blown, act like a three year old, sit around and sulk pity party. It was over a misunderstanding of a text message and was stupid. But for some reason I got down in this hole and decided I would just sit there for awhile, until Keith finally told me to get over myself.
While I was acting like my world was caving in, I was reading the Christian classic, The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom. Although it has been around since 1975, I’ve never read it. My friend Ge-anne Bolhuis had listed it on her FaceBook page as one of her favorite books and I remembered that I had gotten it as a free Kindle book two years ago.
I believe God puts certain books in my hands at times when He wants to talk to me through them and this was one of those times. He knew that I needed to read The Hiding Place last week, in the middle of this pandemic while I was feeling sorry for myself over nothing. I needed to be humbled.
Reading about Corrie and her family will humble you. They were devout Christians living in Haarlem, Holland during WWII, who put their lives on the line to help Jews and others stay safe from the Nazis.
Before the war, the ten Booms opened their home to many and lived their lives in an honest and sincere way. When their world was turned upside down, they never thought of not helping those around them. They didn’t make a big show of the sacrifices they made, but did what God put in front of them, caring without judgment for whoever came to their door. They saved many lives, but mourned the ones that they were not able to help, just as Jesus grieved over the ones who didn’t believe in Him.
What we are experiencing is nowhere close to the degree that the Dutch went through during the Nazi occupation. They had little food and items to buy, they lived in constant fear of their homes and businesses being taken over or that their young men would be forced to join the German army. Even owning a radio was illegal and Corrie struggled with the ethics of lying in order to keep one hidden. As the family became more involved with the resistance movement working to protect the Jews, they knew that it was inevitable that they would be arrested. Corrie even kept a “prison bag” packed for that day.
Yet I read Corrie’s story with an understanding that I would not have felt before this pandemic. Although not under military rule, my normal routines have been interrupted. Just like the ten Booms, parts of life that I depend on, such as going to church, visiting with friends and family or just everyday interactions with shop owners, have changed. Many people have lost loved ones and are facing severe financial problems. Life is uncertain and it’s easy to let ourselves get discouraged.
A Hiding Place changed my heart and taught me to look at everything in my life as an opportunity to share God’s love. In the concentration camp where Corrie and her sister Betsy eventually found themselves, they were able to keep a small book of Scripture hidden and held nightly services with the women in their block. I think about all the Bibles and religious books in my library and wonder what it would be like to only have a small book to hang on to. And yet these women risked their lives to be able to read and share God’s Word.
I also need to be thankful for all the situations in my life. Corrie and Betsy even found a reason to be thankful for fleas! (You will have to read the book to find out why!) It is hard to stay in a hole of self pity when I am thanking God for all He has done for me and all He has given me.
Corrie was already in her fifties when the occupation began, and she worked for the rest of her life to spread her story of forgiveness and love and to help those who had their lives torn apart by war. I need to remember that I’m not too old to make a difference!
If you have never read The Hiding Place, find a copy! It is currently only $1.99 on Kindle or you can find it as an e-book or audio book through your public library’s online catalog (since most of our libraries are still closed). I hope Corrie, Betsy, Nollie and the others living in the little crooked house will touch your life as they did mine.