Editor's note:

On Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 15, the Ren­o­varé Book Club will begin read­ing through Cor­rie ten Boom’s grip­ping spir­i­tu­al auto­bi­og­ra­phy The Hid­ing Place.

In today’s excerpt, we invite you to dis­cov­er — or reac­quaint your­self with — the true sto­ry of the ten Booms — a Dutch fam­i­ly who shel­tered Jew­ish refugees in their Haar­lem home dur­ing Nazi occu­pa­tion, and who suf­fered assault, impris­on­ment, and, for some of them, even death rather than betray Christ’s call to love, serve, and sac­ri­fice in his name.

Mar­ti Ensign — beloved Ren­o­varé Min­istry Team mem­ber and Cor­rie’s close friend — will be lead­ing us through this book, offer­ing her rec­ol­lec­tions in arti­cles and pod­casts (and there is even a rumor of a scrap­book). We would love for you to join us in this jour­ney. Please vis­it Ren­o­varé Book Club to learn more.

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from The Hiding Place

I sat bolt upright in my bed. What was that? There! There it was again! A bril­liant flash fol­lowed a sec­ond lat­er by an explo­sion that shook the bed. I scram­bled over the cov­ers to the win­dow and leaned out. The patch of sky above the chim­ney tops glowed orange-red.

I felt for my bathrobe and thrust my arms through the sleeves as I whirled down the stairs. At Father’s room I pressed my ear against the door. Between bomb bursts I heard the reg­u­lar rhythm of his breathing.

I dived down a few more steps and into Tante Jan­s’s room. Bet­sie had long since moved into Tante Jan­s’s lit­tle sleep­ing cubi­cle where she would be near­er the kitchen and the door­bell. She was sit­ting up in the bed. I groped toward her in the dark­ness and we threw our arms around each other.

Togeth­er we said it aloud:

…How long we clung togeth­er, I do not know. The bomb­ing seemed most­ly to be com­ing from the direc­tion of the air­port. At last we tip­toed uncer­tain­ly out to Tante Jan­s’s front room. The glow­ing sky lit the room with a strange bril­liance. The chairs, the mahogany book­case, the old upright piano, all pulsed with an eerie light.

Bet­sie and I knelt down by the piano bench. For what seemed hours we prayed for our coun­try, for the dead and injured tonight, for the Queen. And then, incred­i­bly, Bet­sie began to pray for the Ger­mans, up there in the planes, caught in the fist of the giant evil loose in Ger­many. I looked at my sis­ter kneel­ing beside me in the light of burn­ing Hol­land. Oh Lord,” I whis­pered, lis­ten to Bet­sie, not me, because I can­not pray for those men at all.”

And it was then that I had the dream. It could­n’t have been a real dream, because I was not asleep. But a scene was sud­den­ly and unrea­son­ably in my mind. I saw the Grote Markt, half a block away, as clear­ly as though I were stand­ing there, saw the town hall and St. Bavo’s and the fish mart with its stair-stepped façade.

Then as I watched, a kind of odd, old farm wag­on — old-fash­ioned and out of place in the mid­dle of a city — came lum­ber­ing across the square pulled by four enor­mous black hors­es. To my sur­prise I found that I myself was sit­ting in the wag­on. And Father too! And Bet­sie! There were many oth­ers, some strangers, some friends. I rec­og­nized Pick­wick and Toos, Willem and young Peter. All togeth­er we were slow­ly being drawn across the square behind those hors­es. We could­n’t get off the wag­on, and that was the ter­ri­ble thing. It was tak­ing us away — far away, I felt — but we did­n’t want to go …

Bêtise!” I cried, jump­ing up, press­ing my hands to my eyes. Bet­sie, I’ve had such an awful dream!”

I felt her arm around my shoul­der. We’ll go down to the kitchen where light won’t show, and we’ll make a pot of coffee.”

The boom­ing of the bombs was less fre­quent and far­ther away as Bet­sie put on the water. Clos­er by was the wail of fire alarms and the beep of the hose trucks. Over cof­fee, stand­ing at the stove, I told Bet­sie what I had seen.

Am I imag­in­ing things because I am fright­ened? But it was­n’t like that! It was real. Oh Bet­sie, was it a kind of vision?”

Bet­sie’s fin­ger traced a pat­tern on the wood­en sink worn smooth by gen­er­a­tions of ten Booms. I don’t know,” she said soft­ly. But if God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He some­times shows us things, you know — to tell us that this too is in His hands.”

Excerpt­ed from The Hid­ing Place, 35th Anniver­sary Edi­tion (Grand Rapids: Cho­sen, 2006), pp. 78 – 79.

Join the 2020-21 Renovaré Book Club

An inten­tion­al way to read for trans­for­ma­tion. Cur­rent­ly under­way and runs through May 2021.

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