"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." - C. S. Lewis

Thursday, July 25, 2013


It has been awhile since I read an entire book in a single day.  When I first cracked the cover of Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place late yesterday afternoon, I didn't think I would finish that night.  But I did, eight minutes before "last night" became "this morning."  I was familiar with the ten Boom story - I think I read a short biography of her once - but I had never read The Hiding Place.  Wow!  I was blown away by her account of faith, love, peace, and forgiveness during one of the darkest times of modern history.  In her book, she traced God's work in her life from her childhood all the way through to the end of the war, and it is a beautiful story. So many aspects of her story have been imprinted on my mind, but I was surprised at how much one insignificant little sentence stood out to me.

A few chapters into the book, Corrie describes their daily routine at the clockmaker's shop there in Holland, aptly summarizing it this way: "And so was established the pattern our lives were to follow for over twenty years."

Twenty years!  They kept that same pattern for twenty years?!  Day in.  Day out.  The family members all had their assigned tasks and responsibilities that they fulfilled each and every day.  They even took their daily walk at the same time each day - on the same route!

They were so content to live that way - no "next big thing" or exciting "change of pace."  They were faithful in the little things (daily walks) and the big: the ten Boom family took in eleven children over the years who needed a home.

Throughout The Hiding Place, through all the stories and anecdotes Corrie ten Boom shares of her childhood as well as her adult years, the ten Boom family was known as a loving, welcoming family.  No matter someone's social standing, problems, or needs, they were welcomed with open arms.  Always.  Even if they had nothing to offer in return.  Even if they were a "competitor," such as the watchmaker down the street.

For so long they had kept the same routine.  For so long they had done things "normally," even, perhaps, somewhat monotonously.  There was nothing significant or incredible about their daily lives, except that they spent each day in faithful service to God and love toward others.

As the black clouds of World War II spread over Holland and the life that they had known for decades began to change drastically, the ten Booms rose to the challenge.  No more daily walks on the same route.  No more simple clockmaker life.  "This was evil's hour," Corrie wrote, adding that "we could not run away from it."  And they didn't.  Even though their entire way of life was completely changed, they faced each new day just as they always had.

Before the War, they had lived in faithful service to God and love toward others.

During the War, they lived in faithful service to God and love toward others.

That's it.  In a way, everything changed.  In a way, nothing did.  The ten Booms still sought to please God in every area of life.  They still kept their hearts and home open to anyone in need.  They still sacrificed their own comfort, ease - now even their safety - for the sake of others.

I'm not saying it was easy, or that they never struggled with the new challenges they faced.  Somehow, some way, those twenty years must have prepared them for this.  Interesting, isn't it?  Even though their circumstances changed so drastically, their attitude before God seemed to be the same as it had been before.  Faithful service and love.

The ten Booms' daily, ordinary, almost-monotonous, seemingly-insignificant life was the setting where God chose to work.  What might He choose to do through ours?

"But this is what the past is for!
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

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that sounds like a great book! I checked online, and our library has it, so I may have to read it sometime soon :) Thank you for the encouraging post to live in faithful service to God and love toward others!