Review: The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, tells the true story of a Dutch family’s faith during the Second World War; faith that led them to help Jews whose lives were threatened during the German occupation, and which taught them to trust in Jesus at all times – even amidst the horrors of concentration camps. Their actions have, rightly, inspired thousands of people but throughout the telling of the story, ten Boom is concerned not to promote herself but rather the grace of God. The hero is Jesus and His incredible victory in people even at such a terrible time. I was awestruck again and again by God’s amazing involvement with those who live for Him, and the blessing this is to the world. Three things in particular will stay with me from this story…

A father’s faith
Caspar ten Boom gathered his family together to pray and to read the Bible every day, and treated all he met with gentleness and grace. Exposed to truth on the pages of Scripture and in the heart of their father, his children grew up strong in their faith. What a glorious demonstration of God’s command to fathers: “You shall teach [God’s words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) The love for Scripture that her father gave ten Boom and her sister led to them treasuring the Bible and at great personal risk they kept a copy even in a concentration camp, strengthening themselves and those around with its life-transforming truth. In those dark places, how the passion of Christ and the suffering of His saints spoke to them with greater clarity than it ever had before.

A God of miracles
The story also testifies to many miracles that God did at this time: supplies that lasted far beyond their natural lifespan, providential circumstances, words of knowledge. Once again we see that God acts in response to our faith when we are risking all for Him, rather than to satisfy our curiosity as to whether He can perform supernatural acts today.

A response to evil
The question of evil is one which Christians and others wrestle with. Man’s curiosity and God’s grace to allow us to explore so much of creation has led to a presumptuousness that demands we receive the answers to everything. The ten Boom family learnt to trust God even when He didn’t give them all the answers. The conclusion that some things are not for us to know is no sidestepping of the issue, rather it is faith in the goodness of our Father and trust in His wisdom: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 29:29) As it led to such incredible acts of compassion, how can faith like this be dismissed? Too often Christians are consumed by the same selfish, despairing world-sickness as those around us and ten Boom honestly describes her temptations in this regard. But by taking hold of the grace available to her – trust, forgiveness, blessing others – she witnessed and ministered to the world. She trusts God and He vindicates her trust, and Himself through her.

A book that describes such times as those would be expected to be a lament and indeed there is much mourning. But it was never mourning without hope. And so The Hiding Place is ultimately not a lament but a hymn of praise to a gracious God whose light no evil can extinguish.

If you can put up with the interviewer as graciously as Ten Boom did, have a look at this video. Notice how she testifies to God’s sufficiency and refuses to be overly dramatic about the past or the future.