“Hate is such a bitter emotion, but I know that the Savior with His cleansing blood is near me. The evil spirits cannot win.” – Corrie Ten Boom
Constant fear…fear of being taken to a special “camp.” Fear of being separated from your family and loved ones. Fear of dying. Fear of the unknown.
Fear of soldiers finding out what you are hiding. Or worse than what, who are you are hiding…
Enter the world of Corrie ten Boom. She was a Dutch woman who, alongside her family, provided a hiding place to dozens of Jews and other refugees during World War II.
“During the last world war, as the German armies rolled over most of Europe, crushing countries in their path, Adolf Hitler set into operation a plan to exterminate all Jews. Many of the people of Holland responded by doing their utmost to help Dutch Jews escape this peril. My own family and my friends and I did all that we could do to save Jewish lives until we were betrayed and arrested.
At that time my father was eighty-four years of age, and friends had often warned him that if he persisted in hiding Jews in his home under the very eye of the occupying armies, he could surely face imprisonment.
‘I am too old for prison life,’ my father replied, “but if that should happen, then it would be, for me, an honor to give my life for God’s ancient people, the Jews.” I recall with great clarity the day, February 28, 1944, that we went down the winding staircase with our whole family and our friends. For some of them, it was the last time they would ever feel the worn staircase railing of the beloved Beje—name for our home, located in the Barteljorisstraat—in their hands.
After an hour’s ride the van door [we had been taken in] opened, and the gates of the prison closed behind us. We were ordered to stand with our faces pressed against the red brick wall. When our names were called, I passed by Father, who was sitting on a chair. He looked up, and we heard him softly saying, ‘The Lord be with you, my daughters.’
From that moment forward, everything in our lives was changed. We did not know what was ahead of us, but I was certain of one thing: that Jesus would never leave us or forsake us and that, for a child of God, no pit could be so deep that Jesus was not deeper still.”
“Soldiers are walking around and the women have to wait a long time, naked. Bep and I put our arms around each other, and we implore, ‘Oh Lord, not that, not that!'”
-Corrie Ten Boom
(Excerpts taken from Corrie Ten Boom’s Prison Letters)
Corrie spent some time in prison until she and her sister were transported to a German concentration camp in Holland. We can’t begin to imagine the pain, the torture and the difficulties Corrie and many of our Jewish brothers and sisters had to endure. Being separated from their families, living in inhumane conditions, being sick, not being able to continue with their daily routines…just for being a Jew or helping them.
They say we learn from history, but do we really? What if the tables were flipped and now Christians are the ones being persecuted and imprisoned just because we follow Christ? Would you be prepared to endure? Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ face this reality already. Being prepared or not being prepared is taken out of the question. Once they become a Christian, a red X is marked on their backs.
When we remember the Holocaust, we often think of it as a terrible thing that happened in a far-off time and place. Something so horrible we could never imagine it in our own society. But is that really the case? Or are we at a new point in history where we are once again allowing our government to decide whose lives hold value? This week, a new law was passed in the state of New York that allows babies to be murdered. And as Faithwire so eloquently points out: “And so, New York State now has legislation that permits murder for convenience.”
How could this have happened? Are we about to let history repeat itself?
And what can we do about it?
- We can pray. Pray for endurance for the persecuted. Pray for those making the decisions for our country. Pray that we learn from our history.
- Stand with our Jewish brother and sisters. We cannot change history but as Christians, we can come alongside the oppressed communities around us and start opening communication channels.
- Read. Stay informed with what’s happening in the culture around you, and learn how to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” as 1 Peter 3:15 says. Take advantage of the resources at your church, or let us know if you need more information on a particular subject.
But don’t let it end there. Most importantly, make sure you’re sharing your faith. Reach out to your government. Don’t let your faith be silent. Don’t allow culture to move around you. Learn to push back at the right time.
Don’t let history repeat itself.
About Corrie It is hard to overestimate the impact of the life of Corrie ten Boom. As a result of hiding Jews in her Holland home in the midst of World War II, Corrie ended up in a Nazi concentration camp where she continued to speak the love of Christ. A miraculous release gave Corrie the chance to begin an international ministry of writing and speaking, sharing Christ, and counseling the hurting as a self-titled “tramp for the Lord.” Corrie died in 1983, on her ninety-first birthday. Among Corrie’s most loved titles are The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord. Find CLC’s full list of Corrie’s books here.