Corrie Ten Boom: April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983
Corrie (Cornelia) ten Boom is one of my heroes of the faith. She was the daughter of a Dutch watchmaker living in Holland during WWII. She and her family hid Jews in their home to protect them from being sent to the prison camps. One day the Nazi officers arrested Corrie and her family for hiding Jewish people in their home and they were sent to prison. Corrie and her sister Betsie were eventually sent to the Ravensbruck death camp. Corrie is the only one of her family that survived, and her story is written in her book called The Hiding Place.
What I love most about Corrie is her simple wisdom and devotion to the Lord. She endured such evil, including seeing her family die in the horrid camp conditions. Yet she radiates with the light of God’s love and peace. In her book Tramp for the Lord she tells the story about how years after her release from the concentration camp, she came in contact with one of the most brutal prison guards and extended forgiveness to him. Her life is an example of how God works in and through our lives, carrying us through the hardships. And she is an amazing testimony to His faithfulness and how His light can shine even in the darkest places.
Corrie’s story prompts me to ask some probing questions about my faith walk.
What Message am I Leaving Behind?
Corrie ten Boom’s story of faith is inspiring and timeless. Her legacy lives on through her penned words. Lives continue to be touched even though she has been gone since 1983. It is words like these from Tramp for the Lord that fill my sails with hope to continue on life’s journey:
I soon discovered that man’s importunity is God’s opportunity. He uses our problems as building materials for His miracles. Page 35
God has plans—not problems—for our lives. Page 10
Before she died in the concentration camp in Ravensbruck, my sister Betsie said to me, “Corrie, your whole life has been a training for the work you are doing here in prison—and for the work you will do afterward.” Page 11
…whether I am walking in the bright light of His presence, or abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, I know that He is not only with me, He is in me. Page 63
What a treasure trove of encouragement! This inspires me to think, every believer is leaving behind hope for the next generation. What will your message be? What will mine say to future generations?
Am I Trusting God to Lead?
In Tramp for the Lord, Corrie tells of her adventures of feeling led by the Lord to go from country to country to tell her story after her release from the Ravensbruck death camp. She boarded a plane without hotel reservations, scheduled speaking engagements, or details, trusting the Lord to lead her when she arrived. And the amazing thing is that He did.
Corrie’s adventures make me realize how much I play it safe. I look at my world with two-dimensional reason rather than three-dimensional faith. There is a part of me that wants to be like Corrie—totally trusting—completely surrendered—and in tune with the voice of my Father. There is a desire to understand Whittier’s words that say, the steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath.
So, What Hinders Me?
The strongest hindrance I have is myself. I second guess my impressions and come up with reasons why I shouldn’t take them seriously.
Corrie tells a story when she felt impressed by the Lord to go to Argentina. She replied, “Yes, but…” and then remembered that serving the Lord should always be answered with, “Yes, Lord.”
I think I use a lot of ‘buts’ in my thinking. But, what if I take on too much? But, what if I’m not hearing correctly?
The other reason I struggle is that I have burned out so many times. When burnout happens, it’s usually because I have been depending on my own ability, thinking I have got it covered. It sneaks up like a stealth fighter and in an instant, I find myself on my face crying out for help—His help. He’s been there all along but will allow me to take the reins in order to show me how much I need Him.
He is my strength when I am weak… The truth is—He is my strength all the time. Unless I am depending on His Holy Spirit power, I am kidding myself. There is nothing of Kingdom value I can accomplish on my own. But, I find when I am plugged into His power source I accomplish more with less effort. It isn’t me. It can never be me unless I am surrendered to Him each day.
Corrie passed through the fire during her time in the concentration camp. I think there is a dependence that develops when we have nothing left but Him. In my humanness, I don’t want to face hardships like that, but I do want to learn more about the deep trust she found in her Heavenly Papa.
How about you? Is ‘but, Lord’ in your vocabulary too? What might the Lord be asking you to do?
Discover the Rich Resource of Corrie’s Life
If you have never read Corrie ten Boom’s books, I encourage you to look for them. You will be blessed by her stories. I pray I never have to endure what she went through but part of me wants a relationship with God like hers. She was an amazing woman who was sold out to obedience to her Heavenly Father. Her story and her example continue to inspire others to this day.
Corrie died on her 91st birthday in 1983. There is an interesting Jewish tradition that says only very blessed people are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday!
She has certainly blessed me.
Find out more about Corrie:
Corrie ten Boom quotes on Goodreads
Author: Jeanne Doyon