So, after much hesitation, I started reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (whom I shall refer to on a first name basis from here). Over this past summer, I have read many stories, books, and listened to speakers on persecution, death, and grief. I wasn’t sure my heart could take much more, even as I grabbed the book from my father’s collection.
I have greatly benefited from these stories of torment and heartache. My faith has been strengthened like never before with the knowledge that our God is worth suffering for, and that He is present in our sufferings. (The depths of this truth is beyond what I have planned to explore in this blog post.) Even with these immeasurable blessings, I hesitated to continue. These stories are heavy, and my heart is easily broken.
Nevertheless, with a little encouragement from friends, I opened this slightly-worn, hard cover copy borrowed from my dad’s library. Corrie is an excellent author, and she pulls you in and prepares you to continue reading. The first couple of chapters paint a picture of life before the trauma, and gently foreshadows the coming tragedies.
Corrie’s father is a treasure of warmth and wisdom. She shares memories with him from her childhood, lessons she learned from him, that stayed with her and helped her.
“He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
‘Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?’ he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
‘It’s too heavy,” I said.
‘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 way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older an stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.’
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied – wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions – for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.”
I love that last line, and the imagery of all this. An important fact that begs mentioning is that her father is a trustworthy man. He is not withholding information that she needed to know just yet. He is protecting her, and he remains to protect her until she can handle the weight of this knowledge. I think this is a beautiful picture of how God cares for His children.
Though the children of the late 1800’s in Holland may have been shielded from some knowledge, they were not shielded from the knowledge of death. After seeing a dead baby outside, Corrie is shaken to the core (suddenly aware that people she loved could die) and cries to her dad that evening.
“…’I need you!’ I sobbed. ‘You can’t die! You can’t!’
Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. ‘Corrie,’ he began gently, ‘when you and I go to Amsterdam – when do I give you your ticket?’
I sniffed a few times, considering this. ‘Why, just before we get on the train.’
‘Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re 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 don’t think that needs any more explanation. ❤