A House That Stands in Persecution
Corrie and Betsie ten Boom’s Home Life Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
As I look out on the horizon, I see dark clouds coming for the church in peaceful America. Persecution is coming. Most sincere Christians agree to this. At meetings I often ask for people who believe this to raise their hands. Seventy five percent usually do. Whatever our end time persuasion is, most of us have to agree that the Bible says a lot about persecution in the last of the last days before Christ returns. I am concerned for the many who believe persecution is coming and the many who may be surprised. Are we ready? Are we preparing the next generation for what they may face? These are sobering questions, especially when you find out how many homes are doing very little to lay a solid foundation in their children that will weather the coming storms.
Corrie and Betsie ten Boom grew up in a home that was a rock to them when the temptations and tribulations fell upon them in prison. Corrie tells their story in the book she wrote, The Hiding Place. Soldiers split up the family and placed them in prisons during the German occupation of Holland during World War II. The crime? Loving the Jewish people and hiding them from the German soldiers. In prison, the memories of their stable home were like walls of strength surrounding their fainting minds. The experiential knowledge of God, received in the home from their godly father, sustained them through many impossible circumstances. The security of their father’s love helped them rest in the Father’s love, though hate was manifested everywhere, through guards and inmates alike.
There may be some wisdom in teaching your children to bear pain and suffering as preparation for hard times to come. I am not against this. We Americans are too soft and find it hard to endure trials of deprivation. However, as I studied the lives of these two persecuted Christians, it became very clear where their great strength lay. It was their home. The godly home they grew up in was their salvation in the midst of great trials. I want to look at this home in the light of persecution to come so we can all be better prepared.
Some of us know what it is to stand alone regardless of the consequences. It is easy to say and even do in America, because the cost is actually quite small. When your home and an entire life savings are at stake, it isn’t as easy. Like Daniel and his three friends, it takes men and women of deep conviction, who cannot do otherwise and still live with their conscience. This was the heritage of the ten Boom family. Father, Grandfather and even Great-grandfather were all men of unshakable convictions, reaching back into the days when Napoleon ruled in Holland. They chose to serve God rather than the “powers that be.” When Betsie and Corrie’s father was warned about his secret care of Jewish people, his response was, “It would be an honor for me to give my life for God’s ancient people, the Jews.” He did just that, as well as three other members of his family.
These deep convictions and the inner strength to live by them passed on to the next generation of children. Father and mother infused the children with a passion for right from early on in life. During the months of unkind treatment in prison, this quality carried the two of them through unimaginable suffering.
The Atmosphere of a Godly Father
When a man loves God with all his heart and walks with Him, there is an atmosphere about him. Betsie and Corrie’s father was such a man. His influence on the children cannot be properly measured. Eternity will tell the true story of his daily impressions on the family. He walked with God as he worked in his watch repair shop and guided his family. Because he was a truly godly man from deep within, the very character of his person touched every aspect of his house. Dear fathers, we are all pressing for this goal. We are pressing toward the goal when the effects of our lives reach far beyond the things that we do. We want the things that we do to flow from who we are in our walk with God. Let us consider Casper ten Boom for a few moments.
He was a Man Who Knew His Bible
Casper ten Boom was an everyday, all the day Christian. All day long he linked the Word of God to the things that were happening around their everyday lives. He knew his Bible because he was reading and meditating in it all the time. He was a self-taught theologian, a lay preacher, teacher and an apologist well known for his ability to debate the scriptures.
He was a Christian Businessman
His watchmaker shop was opened each day with the reading of the Bible and a season of prayer. He went the second mile with his customers and refused to be known as a man after money. Christian principles guided him in his philosophies of business and the gospel was preached when the opportunity arose. This family business provided many hours of father-child relationships as they worked together.
His Calm, Quiet Authority
Corrie said, “We were to obey father, his will was law and we all knew it.” The surprising facts behind this statement are a bit staggering. Her father was not an authoritarian. No one ever spoke about the “lines of authority.” It was an unstated fact that all assumed. Father had a spiritual authority about him that permeated all aspects of home life. There are two levels of authority in the home. They are positional authority and spiritual authority. It is a powerful combination when you find them both in a home. Many fathers have the positional level of authority, but lack the spiritual level. Their authority does not work very well. When a father walks with God and exercises his God given authority, beautiful things happen. When we fathers have both of these, we never have to push our weight around or demand that we be obeyed. Casper had spiritual authority, and all understood his position in the home. Beautiful things did happen, things that lasted into eternity.
He Never Used the Rod to Spank
It may surprise you that I have made a special point out of this “unscriptural practice,” but stay with me. I have a very good reason. This point is for all those who think that spanking is the key to order in your home. The rod of correction is only one of many ways to bring your children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I feel many parents lean too heavily on the rod and shy away from other areas, which require much more time and character on our part. This is a grave mistake. Mr. ten Boom was a master at building relationships. He was full of love, full of wisdom and full of the Holy Ghost. This is a tremendous combination that works so well that you can skip the rod. I am not stating that we should “skip the rod.” That would be unscriptural and never right. I am saying that some of us could use some development in other areas of child training. Give your child a break; build a relationship.
He was a Man of Prayer
I have already stated that Casper ten Boom “walked with his God.” Many aspects of his life can validate this, but his prayer life is the crowning proof. He had his times of private prayer which opened the way for the spirit of prayer that was upon him at all times. There was nothing formal about this man’s prayer life. God was with him all the time, and he talked with Him all the time. He would just break out in prayer to God in the middle of a conversation as the need arose. Like a child, he moved in and out of prayer while talking on important subjects.
A Father’s Love
I am sure we will all agree that a man who loves God like this is going to love his family also, and Casper did. There are so many aspects of this father’s love for his children that I don’t have room for them all. You must get the book that I gleaned from which tells the whole story, In My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom. This firm, gentle man captivated the heart of all who dwelt in his house. The children were affirmed and blessed by their father’s love daily. Kind words and a sympathetic heart flowed from him to the children. At bedtime they all looked forward to Papa’s goodnight rituals. His special prayers, the tender way he tucked them in bed and his gentle hand upon their forehead brought tender memories to the girls as they lay in prison. The security of this father’s love opened the way for two lonely ladies to trust in their heavenly Father’s love through many a hard trial in prison.
The Glowing Fragrance of a Godly Mother
The power and influence of a godly father will establish a child for life, even if mother is not what she should be. The same is true of a godly mother. However, when a family has them both, home becomes a solid rock upon which a long and stable life is built. Betsie and Corrie’s mother stood beside her godly husband and provided the foundation needed for a life of trials and service for the Kingdom of God. The two met teaching children in a Sunday school class. Oh, how joyful it is to behold the beginning of a godly home. It is always a thrill to see a young man and a young woman who love God unite in holy matrimony.
While it is evident that father had the dominate influence in the ten Boom home, it is also very clear that mother was a hidden power working in the lives of her children. The gentle light that shined out of her eyes graced all who came under her influence. Corrie ten Boom suffered with poor health throughout her mothering years and died when Corrie was but a youth. The years of suffering brought tender grace into her life and into her home. When she was able, she was always in her place guiding the household and the children. Her compassion for others left a lifelong imprint on each of her four children. Though they lived in poverty much of the time, she always made room for one more at the family table. Her enthusiasm for hospitality infected everyone, and the home became an open home to all.
Addicted to the Ministry of the Saints
This describes the ten Boom household to a tee. Father’s love for the Jews, mother’s love for the needy and the activities of single aunts who lived there provided an ongoing atmosphere of service for all. The household bubbled with living for others. The ten Boom children grew up in this fertile soil. I think we all know what happened. Each child followed the same example so that, by the time they were all youth, the house was a beehive of caring activity. “Others Lord, yes others, let this my motto be.” Christianity without loving, giving and caring activity is just another dead religion. There is nothing to pass on to the next generation. True Christianity is a heart religion. If there is no compassion for others, there really is nothing to pass on. Papa and Mama addicted themselves to the ministry, though they were not “in the ministry.” Consequently, the children made the same choice as they grew up. Herein lays one of the secrets for securing the next generation. There must be a cause; there must be a purpose to join the ranks of the redeemed. Heaven is great, and hell a place to flee, but the greatest motivation for coming to God is to serve Him. This purpose motivated the Apostle Paul as he cried out on the road to Damascus, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Let us come back to the prison and the persecution that the whole family endured. The rain did descend and the winds did blow, but this family was held by an unseen power and deeply planted principles. Mr. and Mrs. ten Boon dug deep down to the rock and laid a foundation for their family, “and the house on the rock stood firm.” We must do the same—not because persecution is coming, but because we love God with all our heart and want our children to do the same. However, if persecution does come, the family will be well prepared by the solid content of a Spirit-filled home. In conclusion, consider how their godly home sustained Betsie and Corrie.
They stood for right. There was a cause, a purpose for their suffering. Because they were taught to have convictions to die for, they were able to endure the hate and ill treatment.
They knew the Bible well. The Bible became a constant source of strength to them. It was precious to them, and they watched God protect the New Testament that they had. In addition, the word was hidden in their hearts, and they drew wisdom and direction from it all day long when they had no Bible.
They were secure in their earthly father’s love. Because of this, they were able to rest in the arms of the Father in heaven. He became their “Hiding Place.” The accusations of the enemy did not penetrate their hearts. Father’s love opened up the door of truth of the Heavenly Father’s love, and nothing could harm them inside. This is where the real battle is won, in the heart.
The memories of a solid, love-filled home sustained them. In the real world, they saw and heard misery all around. At night they could shut their eyes and remember the many scenes of home life: Mother’s smile, Father’s touch, the family table, and more. The scenes came repeatedly to their minds, and they shared encouragement by them.
Hard times and a large household provided many opportunities to do with less and be content with it. God was all they needed to be happy when they were at home; this made it easier to look past the depriving situations and find God.
Lastly, they lived for others in the prison. What better way to forget about all your pain and suffering. There were many needy women in the prison camp who did not know the Lord. Betsie led out in this and Corrie followed her lead. This focus sustained them. They had a purpose to live, a reason to keep going and not lose heart. This focus guided them through their youthful years, and now it kept them from despair as the days slowly passed.We as parents do not know what will befall our children in the days to come. God does not show us these things. He wants us to love Him and to live by faith. He has revealed to us His plan. He wants us to raise godly children and expects us to obey. Blessed are the children whose parents lay a firm foundation in the home. It shall sustain them through many unknown trials in the last days.
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