| Peter Cook
The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom
Who was Corrie ten Boom?
Cornelia Arnolda Johanna ten Boom was born on 15 April 1892. Her father was a Dutch watchmaker, so fascinated with his craft that he often forgot to charge customers for the work done on their watches. This rubbed off on Corrie all through her childhood, and she eventually was the first woman licensed to be a watchmaker in all of the Netherlands.
But, Corrie ten Boom is not known for her watchmaking skills. She and her family were Christians, and their faith inspired them to help others in need.
The World at War
In May 1940, the Netherlands was invaded by the Nazi’s. This changed the life of Corrie ten Boom and her family irrevocably. Corrie’s father, Casper, believed the Jews to be God’s chosen people and the family started hiding refugees in their home on Barteljorisstraat, a mere half-block away from the police headquarters.
Four years later, a Dutch informant told the Nazi’s about the Ten Booms.
Corrie and her sister, Betsie was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp where they continued to encourage women and share their faith. Betsie died in Ravensbrück, but Corrie was released a mere 15 days later due to a ‘clerical error.' Soon after, all of the women in her age group were sent to the gas chambers. Corrie was 52 years old.
The astonishing story of her family, what they did during World War II and what happened in the concentration camp, is told in her bestselling book "The Hiding Place."
After the war
Corrie ten Boom returned to the Netherlands and continued to help refugees and jobless Dutch people. She returned to Germany in 1946, met and forgave two German soldiers from Ravensbrück who was particularly cruel to Betsy in her final days.
In the next 34 years, Corrie ten Boom traveled the world as a public speaker, visiting more than 60 countries and sharing her story of how God sustained her. She wrote over 25 books.
The Five Silent years
What many people don’t know is that a series of strokes ended Corrie’s ministry several years before she died. For the last two and a half years of her life, this amazing woman who endured so much and did so much for the Lord, was trapped in her own body, unable to speak.
Her caregiver, Pamela Moore, chronicled these last few years as she watched Corrie’s abilities slip away.
She wrestled with the age-old question: What was the point? Why would God allow it, after all the Corrie endured and gave to Him?
Perhaps you are asking the same question?
Why, after all the years of serving the Lord, did He allow your family to hurt through the pain of addiction or suicide? It is very hard. Some endless days go by where you can’t even feel His presence.
If someone like Corrie ten Boom, a spiritual warrior, was still ‘punished’ by the Lord and allowed to suffer, what hope would there be for us?
The beauty of the book “The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom” lies in Pam’s realization.
It was in the suffering that she saw God work. She saw people’s lives being touched by Corrie – even though she could not speak. She still ‘greeted' people with love, patience, and kindness amid suffering. It was not lost on the people around her.
Pam discovered that God was still using Corrie – old, frail and brain-damaged – because her real self was known to Him. It has not changed. Corrie was still ‘precious, holy, beloved and hidden in the palm of His hand.'
But surely, God can’t use this?
God will give meaning to everything that happens in your life. He uses everything to bring you to a more profound knowledge of Himself. He will show you the areas in your life where more work is still needed. He will show you truths.
Pam reflected on Corrie’s calm and peaceful demeanor. Bedridden and in obvious pain, she still delighted in God’s word and if someone prayed with her. Who knew what God still needed to tell her and what she still needed to learn from Him?
God still needs to tell you something, too. He is using your situation to speak to you. God’s love surrounds you even in the most difficult day-to-day struggles.
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But, if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie ten Boom.