Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom (with Elizabeth and John Sherril) is definitely a winner. I read it for book club at the suggestion of a friend, and was immediately drawn into it by the first-person narrative. It is a biography, but it reads like a story- a story of a Christian woman and her family living in Holland, who become leaders in an underground operation to protect the lives of Jews from the Nazis. I expected it to be depressing, what with the horrors of a concentration camp that Corrie was forced to suffer; but surprisingly, with Corrie and her sister Betsie’s optimism and relationship with God, I found it to be very inspiring.

I have not seen the 1975 movie version of The Hiding Place, but it looks good, although not necessarily perfectly accurate.

This book admittedly does not start out with a lot of action, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The beginning of the book, before the German occupation, is very essential for reasons of showing contrast, and how sound principles from a common life can be extraordinary if displayed in times of trouble.

“Mama” Corrie’s mother, said that “Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings… It’s something that we make inside ourselves.” This quote may sound like a nice little motto to you and me, but Corrie and her sister actually lived it. Even in the worst imaginable surroundings she could honestly be thankful to God. This book taught me that God’s light shines the brightest in the darkest places. Corrie suffered the German occupation of Holland, prison, and even a Nazi concentration camp, but with her astounding faith in God she made it through and is now an inspiration to millions.

Perhaps the most astounding thing of all, is that after the war was over and Corrie was back in her own home after suffering the more than cruel treatment of the concentration camps, even resulting in the death of her own beloved sister, Corrie extends a hand of forgiveness and love towards those who had taken part in inflicting suffering on her and her countrymen.

Chances are, that you have been wronged. Maybe your situation was never as bad as Corrie’s, but everyone eventually suffers, whether at the hand of a government, another person, or merely chance. Maybe emotion wells up inside of you that you don’t know what to do with. It’s anger, it’s sorrow, it’s desperation… But everyone is given a choice, no matter what their circumstance, or what they have experienced. One can either choose the path of love and forgiveness (but not necessarily pacifism), or of hate and revenge. Read The Hiding Place, and decide for yourself what to choose.