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A House That Stands in Persecution Corrie and Betsie ten Boom’s Home Life - Denny Kenaston

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.
Matt. 7:24-25

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.

No Compromise

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 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.

Taken from "The Heartbeat of the Remnant"



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