Monday, May 1, 2017

#SoulFood: The Hiding Place

Rev. Corrie ten Boom

You, I, and most folks we know, will sooner or later endure some painful events and situations.

Last week I found myself with a long to-do list and what felt like bushels of tasks needing my attention. While attending to them, I was feeling stretched and taxed, which brought on an increased need for time in prayer and a hunger for health enhancing, soul food. 

During my downtime, when I often work from my phone or tablet, I indulge in some savory helpings helpings of #SoulFood, served up by none other than the incredibly inspiring, pride of The Netherlands, Corrie ten Boom.

This remarkable woman had just the stuff I needed. She’s one of those folks who knew exactly what being stressed and in difficult situations feels like. Her work is still delivering the perfect help for it.

Corrie was born in Amsterdam, April 15, 1982. Like her father, from whom she learned to love the art and trade, Corrie was a watchmaker. In fact, she was the first formally educated (in Switzerland and The Netherlands) and licensed female watchmaker in the whole of The Netherlands.
A Christian and Gentile, Corrie (Cornelia Arnolda Johanna ten Boom) also bore the honored Hebrew title of, חֲסִידִי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם (Righteous Among the Nations), so named by the State of Israel in 1967 for hiding Jews in her family’s home, providing a variety of ways to care for them, and helping all she could to escape German-Nazi terrorism, after the Nazis moved into and forcibly seized Holland in early May of 1940. Corrie’s story is incredible. Through her whole life, good times and while enduring situations coughed up by Hell, the aspects that ring loudest in Corrie’s story are Jesus Christ, love, prayer, hope, miracles and forgiveness. They shine like fields of diamonds bright enough to blot out the darkest of nights, the foulest of storms, the most deplorable hate and cruelties committed by people whose lives were governed by dark souls. They shine through the terrible illness she was experiencing when arrested, with 34 others, including her entire family. Corrie was 52-years-old at the time her arrest. They shine through the months of loneliness, filth and hunger spent in solitary confinement in Scheveningen prison, where she and other Dutch were held while awaiting trial, after being arrested and charged with resistance offenses against Nazi terrorists. They shine through the heartbreak she endured at the loss of her loved ones, also imprisoned, and who’d worked with her to help save endangered Jews and members of the Dutch underground resistance Among them was her 84-year-old father, Casper ten Boom. Casper is loved and remembered by millions, for many things--all of them good. He once stood up to a long-time client, who was also a Protestant pastor. The pastor warned and rebuked him for harboring a Jewish infant. Casper’s response was to assure the man that if protecting the child cost him his own life, it was his honor to give it. Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were herded like cattle, with thousands of other women, onto trains bound for Ravensbrϋck Concentration Camp in Germany. They were crammed into the railway cars, and travelled for three days, wedged between other women, with no food, no water, no bathroom facilities. There are so many folks to admire in this story and to learn and grow from them. Betsy died in Ravensbrϋck, but her memory and message lives on through Corrie’s ministry and literature. Corrie’s life would have ended in a Ravensbrϋck, too. Due to another miracle, in a long line of many, she was released after a clerical error. A week later, all women in her age group were killed in the compound gas chambers. This book is filled with terrible things, yet delivered in such a gentle fashion, I can easily and enthusiastically recommend it for readers 13-years-old and up. It’s a literary-fountain of happiness, healing and renewal.

Anyone, anywhere...

Corrie ten Boom ministered around the world, sometimes speaking to thousands upon thousands of people, in multiple services a day, for weeks on end. She did this until she was nearly 90 and a few cerebrovascular ailments left her unable to travel and readily communicate. She walked on in the late evening hours (around 11:30 p.m.) of her 91st birthday, April 15th, 1983. Her story has been lived and shared by millions of others. It could easily be the story of a Jewess, persecuted during the days of ancient, Rome-controlled Israel. It could be that of a Chinese woman suffering at the hands of the Japanese, during the conflict of the Asian Holocaust, a horrible time that spanned from 1931–1945, in which an estimated total of 50 million Chinese were killed. It could be that of a female, black slave, trying to survive the terrorism of a cruel white owner in the 1800s, United States. It could be the story of an indigenous woman trying to stay alive long enough to be graduated with her body and soul intact from Carlisle Indian School, where the founder’s motto, “Kill the Indian, save the man” was practiced on all students, every day. The students weren’t there by choice, and many died during from the persecution and torture inflicted on them there. Ultimately, this world contains cruel people and harsh places. Corrie's books, not just this one but all of them, consistently wage a winning battle against evil. They deliver consistent, timeless nourishment to those weary in body and hungry in spirit.

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
“In darkness, God’s truth shines most clear.”

“With Jesus, even in our darkest moments, the best remains, and the very best is yet to be…”

Quotes via Rev. Corrie ten Boom

The older I get, the more clear and cherished these truths have become. Corrie didn’t write about a religion, but about a relationship with the love of her lives, the one she wrote about in this book and the one she’s living now. She’s one of the many I have never met, yet I love her and am looking forward to meeting her when I get home.

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Thank you for your visit today! I hope you'll consider investing in Corrie's story and perhaps making gifts of it to friends and family. It's worth every penny you spend.


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