The Hiding Place
Screening August 16 at the Dendy Newtown, Palace Norton Street and Randwick Ritz
Sometimes living for Jesus is a matter of life and death. While this isn’t an active threat for Christians in Australia, the daily decisions we make as believers in Jesus are essentially the same.
Am I choosing not to do something, or not to speak into a certain situation, because I am afraid of the pushback from friends and family who aren’t believers? Am I more concerned with what people think of me than making the most God-honouring decision?
The Hiding Place has been a bestselling book for decades, and while it perhaps isn’t as well-known now as it used to be, the story it tells of the faith, fear, service, pain and triumph of its author, Dutch woman Corrie ten Boom and her family, is as timeless now as when it was first published more than 50 years ago.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Corrie ten Boom lived with her father Casper and sister Betsie in the Dutch city of Haarlem, where their family had been watchmakers since the 1830s. After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in World War II and local Jews were being deported to concentration camps, the ten Boom family – including their brother Willem – hid and helped to save hundreds of Jewish men, women and children in God’s name.
When they began their work with the underground Casper ten Boom was in his eighties, and Corrie had just turned 50, but even though they knew the risks of taking such action, they didn’t hesitate. Eventually they were all arrested, and Corrie and her sister Betsie ended up in Ravensbrück concentration camp in northern Germany.
Corrie’s subsequent book about their experiences takes its name, on the one hand, from a special room constructed in the ten Boom’s Haarlem home to keep Jewish refugees safe. But, more importantly, it echoes a truth about the Lord from Psalm 32:7: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance”.
A film was made of The Hiding Place in 1975, and four years ago a stage play premiered in the US. This version, with its excellent cast, clever set design and wise use of flashbacks, was filmed onstage last year in Nashville, up close and intimate, to draw a viewer further into the story. It’s very faithful to Corrie’s original book – although by necessity there are far fewer characters, with some blended together.
There are many World War II stories of courage in the face of suffering and evil, but the appealing thing to me about this one has always been how Corrie ten Boom shares all her struggles with anger and unforgiveness.
Casper and Betsie are faithful, compassionate and concerned at all times to share Jesus by word and deed, even to those who mock and hate them – yes, even to Nazis. Corrie initially finds forgiveness impossible but learns to see the world, as they do, through the eyes of Jesus.
Get a church group together to see it and plan for chat time afterwards – you’ll need it!