So, there’s someone I’d like to introduce you too. Whenever anyone asks the question ‘If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?’, I immediately answer ‘Corrie ten Boom.’
Why? Courage. Conviction. Perseverance. Faith. Forgiveness.
She’s written several books, but the one I’ve read and re-read is called ‘The Hiding Place.’ If you haven’t read it, you should. If you are exploring your faith, you should. If you are struggling to make sense of circumstances, you should. If you are seeking peace, you should.
Just read it, ok.
If I told you that this little Dutch woman was a beacon of hope, peace, forgiveness, compassion, and love – that would likely not come as a surprise since I just told you about 6 times to go read her book.
What if I told you that her story includes arrest, imprisonment, and eventually, a concentration camp?
Still, maybe not a total surprise. There are quite a few stories of amazing individuals who were not afraid to go to prison for their cause and their beliefs.
I think what sets Corrie ten Boom apart for me is the sense of peace. I’ve seen ‘Schindler’s List.’ I read ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel in college. I always had a sense of haunting cold. That feeling inside that is the absence of feeling – because the real emotion is too painful to comprehend. The horror of human beings treated with utter inhumanity.
‘The Hiding Place’ doesn’t hide that, but instead re-frames it. Whenever I set down her book and dry my tears, I realize there is no absence of emotion. There is a fullness, a peace. The peace that passes understanding. It remains the ‘most loaned’ book in my substantial collection, and is completely falling apart.
Obviously, she survived her experiences during the Holocaust, as she was able to write about them later. Her first goal upon her release was to set up a home for other survivors so that they could receive care and comfort, and so they could heal. Again – no real surprise there. At one point she was approached by a cruel former guard, who asked for forgiveness. She prayed with them. Ok – surprise there. The level of faith and forgiveness she showed (not without difficulty – she had her share of anger), continues to be an absolute inspiration. I am in awe of her. If she were sitting down to dinner with me, she would smile, then shake her head and say ‘not me, God.’ I can even hear her Dutch accent. I feel as though I know her personally, though she died shortly before I turned 3, and hadn’t spoken for nearly 5 years due to a stroke.
I am not going to review the story here. Mostly because I’m going to continue to be bossy and tell you to go read it (you will not regret it!).
I did want to give you a little back-story, though, because I’m going to share some of my favorite quotes. When I find myself in a dark and difficult place- I often turn to Corrie ten Boom’s quotes as a source of comfort, perspective, hope, and peace.
These are in no particular order:
‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.’
‘There is no pit so deep, that He (God) is not deeper still.’ (this was originally a quote of her sister Betsie, that Corrie adopted and shared).
‘Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.’
‘Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.’
‘You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.’
‘Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…It’s something we make inside ourselves.’
‘There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans.’
‘Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.’
‘Perhaps only when human effort had done it’s best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.’
‘When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.’
‘When He tells us to love our enemies He gives, along with the command, the love itself.’
‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.’
‘Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.’
These are really just a few. Just the ones I look to most often. The ones that remind me how much power we can find if we step out of the false pride in our own abilities, and remember that true power comes when we serve as a conduit for God’s love.
So, in closing, one final quote. Oh – and go read the book. ‘The Hiding Place’ by Cornelia (Corrie) ten Boom. DO IT.
‘Don’t bother to give God instructions; just report for duty.’
Find your inspiration. Find your peace.
Happy reading everyone.
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