I became acquainted with Miss ten Boom when I was still young. About ten years old I think, the movie of her story “The Hiding Place” repeated on our paid cable channel several times. When I saw it, I needed to know more. I felt the story was only half told. Later when I came across the book by the same name, I found so much more than I expected. It is among my favorite books and I highly recommend reading it for spiritual growth.
It gave me a start to understanding that truth really is stranger than fiction, because it is a true story more poignant that any melodrama and more miraculous than any bible story. It speaks of the triumph of the human soul. And that is the one victory no gun, nor bomb, nor march of time can stain. It stands alone beautiful, elegant, immortal.
Cornelia ten Boom was a survivor of a Nazi Concentration Camp but she stands alone in that her story brought to life for me two especially beautiful and wise souls. Her father, Casper and her sister, Betsie died at the hands of the Nazis yet through her memories of them I found two teachers of faith and devotion to light my way.
When a young Corrie asked her father the meaning of the word “sexsin, “ her father set down his case of watch parts and asked her, “Would you carry it off the train, Corrie?”
She tugged at it but, “It is too heavy,” she replied.
“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”
Later when Corrie feared she would not be strong enough to endure should her father die, he asked her, “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam – when do I give you your ticket?”
“Why, just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly,. And our wise father in heaven knows when we are going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need – just in time.”
I love these stories for they taught me that not only is it not necessary for a parent to tell their children everything all at once but better still because it gave me the peace of mind to know it is not necessary as a child to have to learn everything all at once. We each carry what we are able as we are able and there is no shame in telling our Father, “This is too heavy.” He is proud to carry for us what we can not carry. We may have faith that He knows what we need and that He will supply it when we need it most.
Betsie though was the most amazing, she insisted on finding a way to be thankful for everything, even the fleas in the barracks. They kept the supervisor out . . . “ She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards . . . Because of the fleas! That’s what she said. “ That place is crawling with fleas.””
It was Betsie who urged her sister Corrie saying, “We must go everywhere. We must tell people that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us, because we were here.” Betsie died in that camp with a peaceful smile on her face. She had been gifted with a vision of a better future. Her sister Corrie saw that vision come true and spent her the rest of her life sharing her sister’s message.
Thank you Corrie!