Last month six ladies met here at our home for the first meeting of the brand new Parting the Pages Book Club. [I must give Robbie credit for helping me come up with a catchy name!] This group is part of the Ladies' Ministry at our home church, however several of my friends from the library book club I attend are joining in, too. For our first meeting, we discussed one of my all time favorite books - The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
Admittedly, this is not one of the easiest books to read because of the content, however there are so many wonderful lessons to learn in the story of the ten Boom family as they hid Jews in their Holland home as part of the Dutch underground during World War II. Corrie, along with several members of her family, was arrested and sent to a concentration camp. She was released from the camp and spent the remainder of her life spreading the word that "there is no pit so deep that Jesus is not deeper still."
The book chronicles Corrie's life from the time she was a little girl growing up with her three siblings and a household that also included her parents and three aunts through the years until she and her oldest sister, Betsy, along with their father were the only family members left at their home (affectionally called the beje) . . . and the war began. Corrie was in her 50s during the time of the war and her imprisonment and forced labor. Her father and Betsy both died in prison, however due to a clerical error, Corrie was released just weeks before all women her age at the concentration camp were killed. The book ends as Corrie is beginning her new ministry of spreading the message of God's love and forgiveness throughout the world.
One of my favorite lessons in this true story occurs during the time Corrie and Betsy are in the concentration camp. When they arrive at the barracks, they discover that it is infested with fleas. Betsy, always the more devout of the two, insisted on giving thanks to God in everything, including the fleas. Corrie was dumbfounded and simply prayed that God would listen to Betsy because she couldn't bring herself to give thanks for the fleas. They began holding prayer meetings/Bible study in that room of the barracks every night, and many weeks later Betsy learned that the reason they were never discovered during that time was because the guards refused to enter the room . . . because of the fleas!
If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it, and if it's been a while I encourage you to pick it up again. I first read this book when I was an adolescent, and each time over the past many years that I've read it again, I am awed and inspired by the faith of this family.
This month we are reading the fiction book Journey to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor. We are planning to alternate Christian non-fiction and fiction books. If you've read any great books lately that might be of interest to our group, please leave me a note in the comments.