Spiritual morale—what it can do for us now

Corrie ten Boom's family worked with the Dutch underground resistance during World War II. This activity caused several family members to be arrested and taken to prison camps. In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie describes the grim details of an existence that one might imagine would have extinguished identity and smothered all reason for hope. But that was not the outcome. Throughout months of solitary confinement'—and later, months of forced labor with her beloved sister, Betsie—Corrie had managed to keep a small Bible, which offered them and others a fresh world of hope in the midst of terror.

Corrie tells of women huddled together in the overcrowded barracks, listening to the Bible. In the inhumane environment of the concentration camp, Betsie's indefatigable Christianity comforts and inspires the tired women. Arguments are resolved, tempers are calmed, and at times even brief flashes of humor ease the suffering.

When Betsie becomes sick, her morale still strengthens her sister and others around her. Although Betsie doesn't make it home, Corrie is able to carry out a plan her sister had envisioned and cherished while a prisoner: establishing special homelike rehabilitation centers to minister to the victims of the war, including those who had been persecutors and collaborators. One of these centers ends up in the barracks of a former concentration camp—the gray buildings transformed by bright paint and window boxes as Betsie would have intended.

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February 3, 1992

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