Thursday, June 14, 2012
I love reading books. I love growing close to the characters, I love delving myself right into the plot line, I love lingering on the beauty of a perfectly worded sentence. But what I love most of all, is when I reach the last page, shut the cover, and realize I've learned something new. Something that may influence me for a lifetime and change the world as I knew it.
I recently finished a book by Corrie Ten Boom called The Hiding Place. It is a book that completely rocked my world and left an impact on me. Corrie Ten Boom lived in Holland during the years of the Holocaust. She and her family devoted their lives to saving Jews. They helped sneak them away to new lives. They even built a secret room in their own home where Jews could come and stay to feel safe.
But this did not at all make the Ten Boom family feel safe. However, they wanted to do what was right and they relied completely on God to take care of them. After a couple years of hiding Jews, an outsider revealed the family to the Germans. Corrie, her sister, and her father were sent to concentration camps.
Her sister and father both die. Corrie roughs horrible conditions, but is eventually released and makes it back home to Holland. But in every awful incident, Corrie manages to find the hand of God. She manages to somehow always find the beauty.
Then she dedicates the rest of her life to the Lord's work. She spends time with other victims of concentration camps, helping them to heal and helping them to forgive.
She forgives. Toward the end of the book, she actually runs into one of the workers from the concentration camp she stayed at and struggles with all her might to shake his hand and put her bitter feelings aside. And she says:
"As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder, along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me."
I have always had this great interest for everything related to World War II and the Holocaust. I guess it just boggles my mind that it actually happened. It boggles my mind that a group of people could have so much hate for another group of people. But this book is a testament to me of the love that always can and always will outdo hate.
If Corrie Ten Boom could forgive the very people who took her father and sister from her, I think I can find the room in my heart to be more forgiving. I can sometimes be so selfish, so stubborn, so harsh. Having read this book makes me want to change all of that. I want to be capable of love and forgiveness in any incident, and because of this book I know that is possible. Not easy, but possible.
Even though I revealed way too much of the plot line, still read this book. It's proof that humanity is good.