Tested in the Trenches: the Faith of Miss Corrie Ten Boom

Church history icon: Corrie Ten Boom (April 15, 1892- April 15, 1983).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 

Miss Corrie Ten Boom is a woman of the faith who made a significant impact on the world and the church. It is good to take a look at her life and how she sacrificed of herself for others during a turbulent time in history. We may not be in the same political climate as Miss Ten Boom right now but we could be closer to it than we realize as the Lord’s return ever draws nearer than it was before.

As daughters of the King, we can relate to Miss Ten Boom if we share a common love for the Savior Jesus Christ that transcends all other worldly ambitions. She loved her neighbor in a practical way by risking her life for the Jews because of God’s love for her and for them. Her father Casper Ten Boom was a man of faith who would not accept submission to the governing authorities when it called Christians to go against God’s law. The Creator God rightly held supreme authority in the lives of the Ten Booms. Mr. Ten Boom along with his family hid, fed, and thought the Bible to Jews during the Holocaust.

The noble faith of this women was tested when she was with her entire family was caught and arrested for hiding the Jews. They were taken to various concentration camps. Corrie was taken to the same camp as her sister Betsy. The two sisters had both remained single and lived at home with their father helping with the family watch repair business and were very close friends. In her autobiography, The Hiding Place, she often recounts how her sister Betsy would encourage her faith when it wavered. Miss. Ten Boom was tempted to hate those who mistreated her and at times failed to see God’s hand in her trying circumstances.

Miss Ten Boom had been a Bible teacher for children with disabilities and had many contacts from this venture. She boldly used her connections to obtain 100 food ration cards to provide for those hiding in their home. Each time Miss Ten Boom sought aide from others, she would reveal her own intention to help the Jews and risked being discovered. However, she relied on God to lead her to the people who would be willing to partner with her. At one time, she asked a pastor to help them hide a newborn baby. To the shock of the Ten Booms, the pastor refused citing obedience to governments, yet agreed not to report them to the authorities.

At one point, Corrie and Betsy were placed in a woman’s dorm full of lice on top of having to work hard doing inhuman labor with little nourishment. Nonetheless, the Ten Boom sisters were able to see with eyes of faith how God allowed them to sneak a Bible into their dorm by way of the lice, which none of the guards were willing to check. Betsy died in the concentration camp just shortly before Corrie was released. However, coming out alive, Miss Ten Boom saw it as her God-given appointment to come out of the camp to tell of Betsy’s testimony, forgive those who mistreated her, and share that gospel message of forgiveness of sins through Christ. To God’s glory, one of Miss Ten Boom’s initial jailers believed in her very message of forgiveness of sins in Jesus, and thanked her personally. Though she in herself could not forgive this man, the strength of her Christian faith enabled her to do so.

Even if we may feel like this woman is not like us, in our day and circumstances, we share the most valuable thing in common—our faith in Christ. Miss Ten Boom lived in a different era, with the unique challenges or war and the holocaust. However, we still battel some of the same issues she faced in her time; that is our need to love others sacrificially and forgive those who have hurt us most. We can do this all in light of the precious gift of faith we have received from our Savior, Jesus Christ.