She considered her face and form ordinary, especially when compared to her prettier sisters, and found herself tongue-tied in the presence of eligible boys. Yet Corrie ten Boom did meet one young man who saw her for who she was inside. Unfortunately, circumstances and family demands would conspire to thwart her plans for a happy future . . .
Not familiar with Corrie’s story? Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. Their story was recorded in a book called The Hiding Place and recreated in a movie of the same name.
From the time she was a little girl, Corrie’s godly parents and loving, happy family influenced the woman she would become. The lessons she learned from them have touched my heart and helped me grow. So I’d like to share them with you here . . .
As a teen, Corrie met her brother Willem’s friend Karel, then a handsome, friendly college student. Years later when she was twenty-one, Karel came for a visit and spent many hours walking and talking with Corrie. For the first time she shared her heart and dared to dream of a future as a wife and mother. Then Willem broke the news that Karel’s family had insisted he marry a girl of wealth and noble birth, and Karel planned to comply.
Nollie, Corrie, Betsie and Willem
Though Karel returned home, he wrote to Corrie, asking for news of her life and claiming that the Ten Boom house was the happiest home in Holland. Corrie refused to believe that Karel would give in to his family’s demands–until the day he showed up at her house to introduce his fiancee. Corrie made it through dinner but later that night retreated to her room to relieve her broken heart . . .
“How long I [Corrie] lay on my bed sobbing for the one love of my life I do not know. Later, I heard Father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. For a moment I was a little girl again, waiting for him to tuck the blankets tight. But this was a hurt that no blanket could shut out, and suddenly I was afraid of what Father would say. Afraid he would say, ‘There’ll be someone else soon,’ and that forever afterward this untruth would lie between us. For in some deep part of me I knew already that there would not—soon or ever—be anyone else.
The sweet cigar-smell came into the room with Father. And of course he did not say the false, idle words.
‘Corrie,’ he began instead, ‘do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain.’
‘There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.’
‘God loves Karel—even more than you do—and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy.’
I was still in kindergarten in these matters of love. My task just then was to give up my feeling for Karel without giving up the joy and wonder that had grown with it. And so, they very hour, lying there on my bed, I whispered the enormous prayer:
‘Lord, I give to you the way I feel about Karel, my thoughts about our future—oh, You know! Everything! Give me Your way of seeing Karel instead. Help me to love him that way. That much.’”
Here’s a summary of Lesson Two, in Corrie’s words:
“I did not know, as I listened to Father’s footsteps winding back down the stairs, that he had given me more than the key to this hard moment. I did not know that he had put into my hands the secret that would open far darker rooms than this—places where there was not, on a human level, anything to love at all. The Secret? That when we could not love in the old human way, God would give us the perfect way to love.”
Soak in this profound truth as you go about your day today! Many blessings, friends!