When I began reading The Hiding Place, I was expecting a story to read in my spare time, an intriguing account of a Christian Dutch woman who hid Jews during the Holocaust. I knew that all of Corrie’s work came about as a result of her love for Christ, and I hoped to be encouraged by the faith she displayed in a difficult time.
But, I was not expecting this book to teach me so many life lessons about God that apply to me, my situation, and where I am today. When I think about Corrie and her family, I become moved and stirred up by their example of pure Christian faith and love for God and how that translated into a whole lifestyle of service.
The title of the book is based on Psalm 32:7. “You are my hiding place; you preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.” In times of peace, and in times of war, in hiding Jewish families, and in times of imprisonment and pain, Corrie held on to faith in her God, and saw him as a place to find refuge and safety, no matter her outward circumstances.
In Christ, everything is different. Corrie’s sister, Betsie, wisely states, “there are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of his will is our only safety – Oh Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it.” For Corrie, the center of God’s will was to be a leader in the dangerous underground movement that hid Jews. The center of God’s will was at times to be alone and in prison or working in a harsh and dangerous camp for political prisoners.
What is the center of God’s will for me? Right now the center of his will is for me to be sick and in pain. The center of his will is for me to give what little energy I have to the basic tasks of life, and then use what I have leftover to counsel others. Right now the center of God’s will is not an easy place to be, but it is the best place to be.
But I struggle so much with being content with God’s will for my life. I long for the faith of Betsie. While imprisoned in a camp for political prisoners, hungry, overworked, and abused, Corrie feels excitement that their time may almost be over. But Betsie has a different outlook:
“Corrie,” Betsie warned one evening when I announced triumphantly that August was half over, “we don’t know for sure [that we will be leaving].” I had the feeling, almost, that to Betsie it didn’t matter…I had the feeling she was as content to be reading the Bible here in Vught [prison] to those who had never heard it as she’d been serving soup to hungry people in the hallway of the Beje [home].”
This paragraph hit me in a forceful and unexpected way. Just as content in a prison as at home? Just as content living in filth and danger as in comfort and safety? In Christ, everything is different.
I think Betsie was content because she really got it. She really got the message of Scripture in which our purpose in life is knocked down, turned around, and leads to the making of a peculiar people. A type of people who can be just as content in prison as at home, because the center of God’s will is the safest and best place to be.
And so I pray to God that I can be just as content being sick, full of pain, and isolated at home as in times of health. I pray that I would embrace the center of His will and continue to serve and do good in the little ways that I can. I pray that I will take on the blessed and faithful heart of Betsie who truly understood that everything is, “loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Ephesians 3:8).