I can think of no earthly reason why I haven’t read The Hiding Place sooner. For years, I’ve heard snippets of the story, walked past the book as I peruse the biography section of my local library — I’ve even checked it out once or twice, only to leave it unread. Why?!
Maybe I thought that the bits and pieces of the story I knew were just about all there was to Corrie Ten Boom’s life. Whatever the reason for my hesitation was, I finally read The Hiding Place last month and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Corrie’s faith and the honesty with which she addressed her own struggles.
The premise: I would divide Corrie’s story into three parts. In the first part, she describes her life in Haarlem, Holland, in the early 1900s. Though far from idyllic, she describes a happy and peaceful home where she will stay for nearly her whole life. Corrie is already an older adult when World War II breaks out and the second passage of her life begins. She becomes a worker in the Dutch Underground and shelters Jews who are in danger from the invading Nazis. Finally, in the third part of her story, she is imprisoned for her “crimes” where she suffers…and finds continuous evidence of God’s merciful hand on her life. There are no boring parts in this story. There are no pages of preface that can be skipped. Corrie and her co-authors have insightfully woven her story into a big-picture view of life where everything is significant.
My perspective: Corrie Ten Boom was an amazingly strong, faithful woman, and I was challenged by her godly example. However, Corrie was also very human, and she is commendably honest about her feelings of doubt, fear, unforgiveness, anger, and so forth. She manages to address both her faith and her fear without lapsing into preachiness, and The Hiding Place is just as engaging and interesting as it is beneficial. I stayed up into the morning hours reading several times, desperate to know what happened next.
My recommendation: I would recommend this book almost without reserve. Christians and non-Christians alike have been inspired and engaged by the story. Whether one is a lover of history and biography or not doesn’t matter — this is an easy, fast-paced read. My one caution would be for younger readers. Although Corrie is never gratuitous with her description of the horrors that take place during her imprisonment, the realities are still very harsh. I think this book would be appropriate for most children 12 and up; younger children and children who are particularly sensitive might benefit from reading it with a parent’s guidance.
Don’t miss out on this book like I did for so long!
What is your favorite anecdote about Corrie Ten Boom?