A few weeks ago I picked up Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” – an account of her adventures and horrors during the German occupation of Denmark and subsequent travels to Ravensbruck. I’ve always enjoyed learning about World War II and I wanted to freshen up before my class got to it this week. I thought I’d do a bit of a book review for anyone whose New Years Resolution is to read.
My review: Read it.
You won’t regret it. Promise. As I was reading, I was struck several times at how familiar the stories sounded, and then realized that the stories I already knew and had heard in sacrament/Conference talks were HER stories.
For instance, one story in particular illustrates the power of positive thinking, gratitude and prayer. Corrie’s sister Betsie is a saint. Just a pure-hearted, loving, charitable saint. She is the one who bears Corrie up when all light seems to dim from the world around them. They are moved into these awful, awful barracks where there are three women to a rough, thin cot and the entire place is teeming with fleas. Corrie, as a normal human being, is skeptical about the hopefulness of the condition. Betsie insists that they must pray in gratitude for EVERYTHING that they have in those barracks.
“Even the fleas?” Corrie asked incredulously.
“Even the fleas,” a resolute Betsie replied. So she did. She prayed in gratitude for those fleas.
Weeks later, the German camp directors started running surprise raids on different barracks. Corrie was hiding vitamins for Betsie, a bible and their sister’s sweater — all contraband items in a Nazi work camp. They were terrified that these items would be found and confiscated, and the owners punished mercilessly. The bible in particular was their only solace in their cruel lives.
At the last minute, the guards arrive at the door of the barracks, taking a few steps inside and proclaiming “Fleas! I’m not going in here amongst the fleas!”
The fleas had saved them. The fleas were worthy of gratitude after all.
Along with providing a more realistic view of our cushy daily lives, and an appreciation for the sorrows and suffering of others, this book provides one of the most spiritually reassuring messages I’ve ever learned.
God is God. And he’s everyone’s.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew in the prison camp. Or a Christian sympathizer in the prison camp. Or a Nazi German running the prison camp. Or an impoverished Muslim living in a war-torn refugee camp. Or a Latter-day Saint living in Happy Valley, U.S.A. God truly is no respecter of persons. This book illustrates beautifully the majesty of God’s creation of man on earth. He listens to all, invites all, and blesses all.
While I am immensely grateful for the true and only Priesthood on this earth, it is comforting to know that people all over the world are living true principles and that God speaks to them as well. We’re all in this together. It’s only a matter of time until we’re all official.
[P.S. I’m on Goodreads. Come find me.]