Can your family make a difference in the confusing times we are living in?
Let’s meet Corrie and her family who lived during some significant changes. This Dutch family loved the Lord and lived a simple life going to church and running their own business. Their home was filled with love and laughter. Guests frequented the little home behind the watch shop.
Almost a century earlier, in 1844, Corrie’s grandfather, Willem was approached by a Messianic Jewish pastor who asked Willem to start a weekly prayer meeting for the Jewish people. That was strange because back then there was no nation of Israel, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Nonetheless, Willem began weekly prayer meetings for the Jewish people that continued for exactly 100 years.
Corrie’s parents, Casper and Cor had moved to a Jewish neighborhood in Amsterdam for a short while early in their marriage made good friends and enjoyed joining in many Jewish festivities. Casper also spend lots of time sharing passages of Scripture in the Old Testament such as Isaiah 53 that Casper believed were fulfilled in Christ.
When Corrie’s grandfather died, her father Casper brought his family back to Haarlem and took the helm of the weekly prayer meeting.
Corrie and her sister Betsy never married and remained at home with their widowed father Casper. Corrie started clubs for girls where she taught them crafts and shared the Gospel.
War Breaks Out!
Abruptly, everything changed when invaders from nearby Germany conquered and began to rule the peaceful nation. The goose-step marching sent shivers down their spines when they saw the Nazis marching down the street. People began to disappear; never to be seen again. Their Jewish friends were taken away to concentration camps. It felt like darkness had descended on the land.
When Germany invaded Holland during World War II, Corrie, Betsy, Casper, and the rest of the ten Boom clan, joined the resistance. They housed Jewish people who were fleeing for their lives, until they could find another place to hide out in the country nearby.
Even so, love and laughter continued to fill the little home. Their Jewish visitors might tell stories or play the family piano. When there was danger, the guests had to escape quickly to the hiding place. They worked hard to get the drill down to 70 seconds. They also had to get rid of any evidence of their presence such as a teacup or extra hand of cards.
The hiding place was a tiny secret room. The thick walls of the hiding place were built below the floor so the Nazis wouldn’t find it with a secret entrance through a linen closet. This little family saved the lives of many Jewish people.
When Casper was warned of the danger of hiding Jewish people, imprisonment and death, Casper declared that he felt it a great privilege to give his life to save God’s Chosen People.” Corrie and Betsy shared his heart.
Clash of World Views
The ten Booms faced a collision of worldviews. Hitler led Germany with a wicked philosophy doing everything in his power to make the Jewish people and every other “undesirable” feel debased, humiliated, and hopeless. But he could not overcome love, forgiveness, and mercy, that flow from the heart of God. Corrie and her family recognized the value and dignity of every life, especially the lives of those so precious to our Father God. When worldviews collide, God’s love always wins.
The night of the final raid came on an evening when Corrie was very sick. Betsy answered the door. Though suspicious of the Dutch traitor, she gave him help anyway. He brought back the Gestapo, who arrested all three ten Booms, but those in the hiding place were not found. The soldiers chopped, hacked, and destroyed, but the little hiding place worked! Two days later, members of the resistance were able to get the five people out of the cramped little space and they all escaped to freedom.
The final raid came 100 years to the day that the Willem ten Boom held his first prayer meeting. Coincidence? I don’t think so. This family was in the center of God’s will, though it was not an easy place.
Corrie alone survived the concentration camp, being let out due to an administrative error. She and her family made a conscious decision to forgive. Even the traitors that reported them were both written a letter from the family expressing forgiveness and the love of Christ. Corrie spent the rest of her life sharing her testimony and helping people learn to forgive.
The ten Boom family paid a huge price to resist evil. Yet, because of their heart to obey God rather than man, they saved lives. After the war, Corrie ministered to thousands of bitter souls who learned to forgive from her example.
Glamorous? No. They were just a normal Christian family. Just an ordinary family who trusted God. A family that obeys God can change history. Because of families like the ten Boom, enough Jews survived to make it to the Holy Land and usher in the birth of Israel in 1948.
Don’t underestimate what God can do with your family.
Your family can speak wisdom into the lives of those who are confused and frightened. Your family can teach timeless truths that many Americans have forgotten.
Even if your family is just a place where visitors find love and laughter, think how many lives can be changed by that! You may think you don’t have a perfect family, but your family may be the best example of Christ that anyone has ever seen.
Resources that Help Your Kids Make a Difference
All our online classes and other resources are designed to support your family and help your kids strengthen their faith. Our podcast, Softskills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, provides encouragement and information that will help you homeschool. High school students can learn more about how to defend their faith with our Introduction to Apologetics Course. This is a class students can join for a full year, or for just one semester- we hope you check out the other courses and resources on the website for parents and K-12 homeschooled students.