On Faith – and Forgiveness

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Sunrise, New Hampshrie coast

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.”
~Corrie ten Boom 

When I came across this quote, I wanted to learn more about (Cornelia) Corrie ten Boom. What I discovered was quite interesting. A deeply Christian Dutch woman born prior to the turn of the 20th century, she played a tremendous role in the resistence movement of the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II.

48-years-old at the beginning of the war, Corrie came up with a plan, supported by her family, to turn their home into a refuge where those who were being persecuted could hide…somtimes for hours as they waited to move on to other safe havens, sometimes for months.

Eventually, this mild-mannered middle-aged lady headed a resistence network of 80 people – and is credited with saving the lives of 800 Jewish people along with members of the Dutch resistence who were being targeted by the Nazis.

Betrayed to the Gestapo in 1944, the ten Boom family was taken into custody. Corrie’s 84-year-old father died soon thereafter. She and her sister ended up at Ravensbrück concentration camp near Berlin – where her sister died. Their brother contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned and died soon after the war ended. A nephew was sent to Bergen Belsen death camp and never heard from again.

Miraculously, Corrie survived. (She learned later that a clerical error led to her release…the other women in the camp who were Corrie’s age were killed one week later.) She went on to travel the world, spreading her message of faith – and forgiveness.

In the context of her life and experiences during the war, her quotes take on a whole new meaning.

“There is no pain so deep God’s love cannot reach it.”

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

“God gave us love to enable us to pardon our enemies.”

(The ten Boom family home in Haarlem is today a museum.)

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