Redeeming Reads

The Hiding Place

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Nazi occupation of Holland in World War II occurred without warning, and almost immediately, the persecution of Jews was evident.  In The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates the dramatic story of her family’s effort to hide Jews from arrest and deportation.  At great risk to themselves, they partnered with the Dutch resistance to relocate Jews, but nearly always several persons were secreted in their home.   Pastor Tom’s recent weekly update inspired me to re-read Corrie’s personal account of this captivating story of courage, forgiveness, and unwavering faith.

     Most ten Boom family members were eventually arrested due to their underground work.  Corrie, her sister Betsie, and her father were deported to concentration camps.  Many of us have seen movies or read about the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.  This book contains uncomfortable descriptions of those camps. But what it also contains is uplifting testimony of God’s power to sustain and provide for us even in the daily presence of overwhelming evil.  Armed with their Christian beliefs and a Bible that they were able to hide, Corrie and Betsie shared God’s promise and hope with fellow prisoners throughout their internment.

     Corrie survived the war and returned to Holland where she organized transitional housing for the many souls damaged by their own experience in concentration camps or four years of hiding in attic rooms and back closets. Traveling throughout Europe and the United States to raise funds for her ministry, she soon recognized the greatest need was in postwar Germany where there was a pressing need for homes.  Corrie writes: “When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”  God not only provided the love – and Corrie admitted it took a lot – God provided a former concentration camp that was soon converted to living quarters for homeless German people.

     There are many lessons in Corrie's biographical narrative.  Among others these include recovery from shattered dreams; getting along with less; security in the midst of insecurity; dealing with difficult people; forgiveness; and what to do when evil wins.  Corrie is quoted saying, “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

     The Hiding Place is authored by Corrie ten Boom with Elizbeth Sherrill.  It is available from booksellers.  Recommended by Sue Snow.

Ordinary Grace

A mystery novel with all the usual elements – secrets, lies, adultery and deaths. When I came across Ordinary Grace on the Edgar Award best mystery list, I was not expecting a “redeeming read.”   This quote stirred my curiosity: “That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.” 

     The story is set in a small Minnesota town in 1961 and is told from the perspective of Frank, the teenage son of a Methodist preacher.  Tragedies befall his town and specifically his family.  As Frank and his family struggle to come to grips with grim reality, God’s grace is shared in simple, yet surprising ways.  It is a quiet novel with rich, believable characters that hooked me from page one.  Recommended by Sue Snow.

     Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is the winner of the 2014 Edgar Award, an annual presentation by the Mystery Writers of America.  It is available at the Saline District Library and from book sellers. 

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