Well, hey there! Are you ready to dive into the next three chapters of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom? I need to fess up, I read these three chapters last week and didn’t write in the moment, so I’m going back through and covering all the things I underlined in my book. Are you an audiobook person, a digital book person, or do you like a good old hard copy? Do you like to take notes inside your book? My book has whole paragraphs underlined and words circled. I have notes written in the margin, in the front, and the back. Oh my. It’s crazy town in my books. What kind of reader/note-taker are you?
If you have missed our first two discussions, be sure to go check them out and let us know your thoughts. We covered the intro pages and chapters 1 and 2 in one post, and chapters 3, 4, and 5 in a second post. You are now officially reading post number three. We are rocking and rolling through this book. Isn’t it just the best? Many of you on social media told me you couldn’t put it down and finished it one day, or one week. I still would LOVE to have you share your thoughts in each of these posts. Okay, let’s get to it. You know the drill. Grab your notebook to write out some thoughts that may be sparked in this conversation. Also PLEASE, pretty please, share alllllll the takeaways you have in the comments of this post. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Chapter Six: The Secret Room
Churches Were Packed
“The churches were packed.” It’s the first thing that catches my eye when I glance at the pages of my book. I have that circled. Did that stand out to you? Times were starting to get rough in Holland, and the churches were packed. Jer and I talked a lot about this the other day. Isn’t it true? I mean, it’s true in our own lives. When times begin getting turbulent in our family, finances, health, or relationships, we go running to the place we know the true source of “help” comes from. When times are hunky dory, it’s so incredibly easy to get complacent and go through the motions of life. We may see this as a shameful way to be, but I think it’s quite the opposite. How amazing that we have a Father who is always right there waiting for us to come running to Him in our greatest time of need. I love this so much. Yes, yes, it would be wonderful if churches were packed in the good times too, but I love that this proves people know deep down where true hope and peace are found.
Can you think of times where it was easier to run to God in the harder moments of life, and times you became complacent in the easier times? Listen, no shame. No guilt. Let’s write out in our notebooks the times we knew exactly who to run to in our greatest times of need. We know where our help comes from!
We all face decisions daily in our lives. These decisions could be small, or incredibly large. How often do we go to God, desperately needing HIS direction? In these chapters, we begin to see Corrie faced with decisions that could mean life or death. One wrong move could put her family and others in danger. She knew praying was VITAL. I love this next quote I have not only circled but put huge asterisks by it.
“Lord, I prayed silently, if it is not safe to confide in Fred, stop this conversation now before it is too late.”
A few pages over I have the following words not only underlined, but double underlined AND an asterisk.
“My job was simply to follow His leading one step at a time, holding every decision up to Him in prayer. I knew I was not clever or subtle or sophisticated; if the Beje was becoming a meeting place for need and supply, it was through strategy far higher than mine.”
Is this not the most amazing thing ever? Oh my. That last statement. “It was through a strategy far higher than mine”, I mean COME ON NOW. How about that? She was desperate for HIS hand in every detail. She may not have trusted herself and her plans, but she did trust HIS. Jer and I are currently at a place in our lives where we have been saying this statement. I mean we aren’t facing concentration camps and gas chambers, but we have told the Lord, LOOK, we trust YOU and YOUR ways, but we don’t want to put hope in OUR strategy or plans. Matter of fact, I told the Lord this week that I can’t do ANYTHING without Him because I know I can royally screw things up. I NEED HIM.
Have you found yourself making statements like this to the Lord? What are some areas in your life that you need to go to Him and ask for HIS strategy and plans? Nothing wrong with self-help books, courses, and mastermind retreats, but I am DESPERATE for HIS STRATEGY. Lord, I NEED YOU.
He Orders Our Steps
I love that in the above statement from Corrie, she says her job was simply to follow His leading ONE STEP AT A TIME. This is the way this family lived their lives daily up to this point. Did you notice in this chapter how the Lord was ordering their steps in those 80 + and 50 + years leading up to these moments? The connections they were making throughout their lives were the people who linked arms with them to create this major operation that was running out of their home. Casper was a key foundational piece of the community, and those connections made a huge impact at the end of his life. How about the construction of their home being PERFECT for the creation of the secret room? Can you see how the Lord was setting the stage for the build-out of this room so many years before, as the house was being formed?
What are some ways you can look back over your life and see the Lord was ordering your steps for specific stages of your life? Would you write that in your notebook?
If you read the other two posts of this book study, you know that Jer and I were able to visit the Ten Boom family home. We were able to stand in Corrie’s room. We were able to stand in the secret room. I HAVE to share a few of my thoughts with you. First, the room was so much smaller than I thought it would be. Corrie’s actual room AND the secret room. It was TINY. If you ever have a chance to visit this home in your lifetime, oh, please do it. I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop writing this blog post, and tears are filling my eyes. There is a presence in each room of this home. You can feel it. I know that may sound crazy, but I can’t put it into words, but it was overwhelming. Oh to live so closely with the Lord that His presence saturates my surroundings, even after I’m gone.
Chapter Seven: Eusie
Fear and Love
This chapter is packed full of examples of what we talked about above, the Lord ordering their steps and the steps of others daily. So many connections and relationships, depending on the Lord to open doors and shut doors. We also begin to see how powerful fear is, and how it overtakes the capacity to love. Corrie says it best in the opening pages of this chapter.
“Love. How did one show it? How could God himself show truth and love at the same time in a world like this?
By dying. The answer stood out for me sharper and chillier than it ever had before that night: the shape of the Cross etched on the history of the world.
You know, we read the above and think, well, that was Jesus. He was perfect. It was easy for him to make these decisions. He stood for what was right in the face of fear, persecution, and betrayal. He was human. Flesh and bones. He had emotions. He knows what we face. When faced with these things, He chose LOVE, and we see that with Him giving His life. Did you see a moment in this chapter where Casper portrays this same type of love in the face of fear? Let’s revisit it, shall we?
Let me set the stage first. A young mother and baby arrive at the Ten Boom family home. Corrie brings them in and begins her search for a place for them to stay. She thinks of the pastor who lives a bit out of the main town. Do you remember this story? Oh, how heartbreaking it is, but through that we see the true love that triumphs fear that rises in Casper.
When Corrie asks the pastor to take the mother and baby in, he refuses.
“Back in the dining room, I pulled back the coverlet from the baby’s face. There was a long silence. The man bent forward, his hand in spite of himself reaching for the tiny fist curled around the blanket. For a moment I saw compassion and fear struggle in his face. Then he straightened. “No. Definitely not. We could lose our lives for that Jewish child!”
Unseen by either of us, Father had appeared in the doorway. “Give the child to me Corrie,” he said. Father held the baby close, his white beard brushed it’s cheek, looking into the little face with eyes as blue and innocent as the baby’s own. At last, he looked up at the pastor. “You say we could lose our lives for this child. I would consider it the greatest honor that could come to my family.”
At this moment, Casper is giving us an earthly glimpse into the kind of love Jesus had for us. Casper not only was willing to die for this baby, he said it would be an HONOR. Wow. This is so amazing.
Alarms and Drills
Finally, as the chapter begins to wind down, we see the extended family that begins to form inside the Ten Boom family. I love how they tried to keep things upbeat, and fun, even during scary times. We see this played out as they do the drills and race to beat their time up to the secret room, making it a game and even giving cream puffs as rewards.
Do you know they still do drills and races, and make this a fun experience for kids in this home today? Oh, they do. When we visited their house, they asked if we had any questions. Oh boy, you know I had a million. I was THAT person. Sorry, not sorry. I asked if the alarm system was still installed in the house, and they said yes. I may have gasped a little too loud. They told me I could press it. (MY EYES GOT SO WIDE THEY ALMOST POPPED OUT OF MY HEAD.) Really? I pressed the buzzer that was down at the bottom of the stairs as you walk to the Watch Shop. Listen, have I mentioned you need to visit this house? You do. Anyway. They then told us they host school groups inside the home and tell them the story and allow them to participate in the drills. Seeing if they can make it up to the room in a minute or less.
When I heard that kids still today participate in these drills. Well, it brought a smile to my face. The Ten Boom family took a serious and scary situation and brought an element of fun to the table with it. I believe they would be happy to know kids would one day be running through the home doing the same, having fun, all while being taught a very important piece of history. I have to say, I secretly wanted to be a kid for the day and participate in the drill.
Chapter Eight: Storm Clouds Gather
Nollie and Annaliese
This chapter is titled appropriately. The storm clouds gather, and we see them roll in at the beginning of this chapter when Nollie is questioned about Annaliese being a Jew. Nollie, ahhhh, the pure heart she has, and full faith and trust in the Lord. I’m not sure about you, but each family member has taught me life lessons while reading this book. While it was shocking to read that Nollie fessed up and told the soldiers Annaliese was a Jew, you immediately knew she didn’t speak it out of fear. She was confident if she was truthful, the Lord would watch over Annaliese. She was full of faith and love. She sends a message to Corrie from prison, “No ill will happen to Annaliese. God will not let them take her to Germany. He will not let her suffer because I obeyed Him.”
You know the story and what unfolded. Six days later, the Amsterdam theater was broken into, where Annaliese was being held, and she was able to escape. Look at the Lord working. Not only is she released, but she also makes sure the news gets back to Nollie. I believe both had full trust that the Lord was going to do what many thought would be impossible.
What were your thoughts on this part of the story? I can’t imagine the situations so many were put through. How do I respond? Do I listen to the fear rising inside me? Do I trust the Lord can turn an impossible situation around? I have to say, I feel like I relate to Corrie often in my responses and thoughts. My first reaction would be, Nollie, what were you thinking? Why would you say this? I love how Corrie gives us an honest view of her thoughts and emotions.
An Uninvited Guest
More and more clouds begin to roll in, and we see yet another when Otto, Captain Altschuier pays a visit to the Ten Boom home. It for sure gets the adrenaline flowing, right? Do you remember this man and his time spent working in the Watch Shop before Holland was taken over? Even with his smug demeanor, the family still treated him with kindness, offering him tea, and not reacting in anger or fear. I often wonder if Otto got the news of what happened to Casper, Betsie, and Corrie when they were captured. He knew the lives they lived and what they believed. Why did the Lord place Otto in the home of this family for a season? One thing I do know, the love of Jesus was evident in this family and the Lord uses all things for the good. I know seeds were planted in this man’s life. Wouldn’t it be the best surprise for the Ten Booms to get a visit one day while in Heaven? A knock at the door and there stands Otto. Oh, can you only imagine?
I have mentioned this before in our other discussions, but we really could discuss these chapters for days. There are so many gold nuggets of wisdom. Each time I read it, something new stands out. I have only covered a few pieces in each of these chapters, so now it’s your turn. What all stood out to you in these chapters? There is no way I could pack it all here, so I trust you will add to this discussion. You will, right?
Are you enjoying this book as much as I am? Are you reading along as we discuss the chapters, or did you fly right through the book, unable to put it down? I must know. It’s okay if you finished it in no time flat. I get it. I get it. I need to know everything running through your mind. I am begging you to share.
Okay. It’s time to move to chapters nine, ten, and eleven. We are officially halfway through the book. Can you believe it? If you are following along in real-time with us, the next installment will be shared next week. Can’t wait to see you back here for the discussion!!!!