Casper ten Boom (1859-1944), Corrie ten Boom’s father, was a Dutch storekeeper who helped to hide Jews escaping the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. A member of the Dutch Reformed Church, he was in his eighties when Germany occupied his hometown of qHaarlem in The Netherlands. When Jews were forced to wear the Star of David on their clothing as a way of marking them for increasing levels of abuse and persecution, Casper chose to wear it also, as a way of identifying with his Jewish neighbors. He was arrested with his family during a Gestapo raid on their home, and died shortly after his imprisonment on March 9, 1944.
In this account shared by his grandson Peter, Corrie’s father is remembered for his last recorded words.
The long hours crept by slowly as we stood there facing the yellow brick wall. My heart was full of questions. I kept thinking of the Psalm which Grandfather had read the evening before. After our imprisonment we had been taken to the police station at Haarlem. In the gymnasium there, with thirty other prisoners lying and sitting on the floor around him, Grandfather had taken his Bible and read the Ninety-first Psalm. How peaceful those words had sounded to our anxious souls: ‘He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
But now, standing in the corridor of Scheveningen prison, doubt filled my heart. “A thousand shall fall at thy side,” Grandfather had read, “and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”
But tragedy had struck. Where was the host of angels we had prayed for so often? Had God forgotten us? Then I glanced over at Grandfather sitting in the corner. There was such an expression of peace on his pale face that I could not help marveling. He actually was protected. God had built a fence around him. Suddenly I knew: The everlasting arms are around all of us. God does not make mistakes. He is at the controls.
At last they took me to my cell. As I walked past Grandfather, I stopped, bent over him, and kissed him goodbye. He looked up at me and said, “My boy, are we not a privileged generation?”
Those were his last words to me.
Source: Corrie Ten Boom, Father Ten Boom (Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1973), 10-11.
When we learn that He invites us to draw near on a pathway blazed by His Son…
When we discover that He made us to be satisfied only by continuously and deeply drinking from the life He alone can provide…
When we see the world around us as it is: hungry and thirsty souls frantically trying to fill the gnawing void with an empty “feast,” dark, deluded, and damaged…
When we sense His heart to make all things new…
When we glimpse the King and fall down before Him…
Then being alone with Him becomes…
- a place of refuge;
- a time of refreshing;
- a vision of what is real;
- a reminder of what matters;
- a release from hopelessness;
- a moment of weightlessness as you unburden your soul;
- a way to discern and ask for His kingly rule to break into broken lives and circumstances;
- a delightful time with the One who rescues you;
- a journey to ever-increasing levels of surrender to His love and stunning purposes for your life; and
- a mission to bring joy to the One who sings over you!
not for religious professionals, but for His sons & daughters…
not for gaining public attention, but for a divine audience…
not for my reputation, but for my sanity…
not a terminal destination, but a highway…
not where I am going, but how…
not a decoration on display, but the byproduct of an all-consuming pursuit…
not a hard-won achievement by me, but an extravagant gift from Him…
lost when I trade it away for lesser things…
a path recovered as I confess and He cleans…
a choice to walk in His light and not in my shame…
a life expressed (His) when I come to Him, learn from Him, and remain in Him…
accompanying every serious pilgrimage into the Presence of the One I love.
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart… the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.” ~ Psalm 24:3-4, 6
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands… and purify your hearts…” ~ James 4:8
“…Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” ~ 1 Peter 1:7-8
(May we be the generation He seeks… the one that seeks Him, drawing near with clean hands & a pure heart.)
If you are blind, you will see;
If you are deaf, you will hear His voice;
If you are an offender of others, you will love others by seeking their forgiveness;
If you are bound, you will be set free;
If you are an enemy, you will be reconciled;
If you are angry, you will enter & experience His peace;
If you are poor, you will find everything you need in Him;
If you are running, you will be arrested by His love;
If you are a rebel, you will fall in surrender at His feet;
If you are wrong, you will be made right;
If you are alone, you will find a Forever Friend;
If you are enslaved and desire change, you will begin a journey of transformation into His likeness;
If you are hopeless, you will be given a secure destiny;
If you are unfeeling, you will care about the spiritual condition of every person you meet;
If you are sick, you will be healed (sooner or later);
If you always have to “drive,” you will find rest under His yoke;
If you are an orphan, you will find a family;
If you are afraid, you will be hidden in the emotional fortress that lies under the shadow of the Almighty;
If you are joyless, you will sing His praises;
If you are confused, you will see the truth;
If you are dead, you will be made alive;
If you are the greatest sinner, you will meet the only Savior; and
If you are lost, you will be found!
And these things only begin to describe LIFE in the presence of Jesus.
…when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20
Lord, You are my Father (and a consuming fire).
To draw near to You is to encounter the warmth of Your love, and the intense heat of Your wrath towards sin. I cannot draw near to You without retreating from sin in my heart. This is the delightful and deadly journey into Your presence, and any personal purity I experience is only a consequence of that journey… a continual casting away of the worthless and temporal in exchange for that timeless place before You.
It is an illusion and a lie to believe that intimacy with You is costly, when nothing compares to the unspeakable joy of being lost and found by my Father the King (who is also a consuming fire).
Thank you for rejoicing and running… towards me.
– a grateful son
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” ~Isaiah 57:15
The Welsh Revival of 1904-1906 was part of a global movement of God making Himself known to His people early in the 20th century. Evan Roberts had been praying since he was 13 that revival would come to his native Wales, and by early 1904, Roberts was spending most nights in prayer alone with the Father. On October 31 in Loughor, he spoke to his hometown church to a crowd of 17 people… within weeks he was speaking to thousands, and within the next 10 months, over 100,000 new Christians were swept into the churches of Wales.
Was God manifesting His Presence to His people? In Isaiah 57:15, God reveals that He inhabits eternity, where time ceases to exist. In the article excerpt below, a secular newspaper reporter with the London Times describes the environment of one those first meetings in November 1904.
While he is still speaking the people give vent to their feelings in a hymn of thanksgiving repeated as before again and again. Thus the hours creep on. It is long past midnight. Now here, now there someone rises to make his confession and lay bare his record before the people or falls upon his knees where he is and in loud and fervent tones prays for forgiveness. Still unwearied, the people sing. Hymns seem the only adequate channel for expressing their joy and thankfulness. It sounds incredible, but this succession of prayer, of address, of confession, of singing, went on from 7 o’clock at night until 3 o’clock in the morning. “Succession” was not always an adequate description, because several times during the night, when the excitement was at its highest, the outbursts were not successive, but literally simultaneous. These cross-currents were confusing, and once or twice one felt as if the whole scene were a dream or a nightmare. Most amazing of all was the endurance of the men and women. There they were, through all those long hours, eager and earnest to the last, as if wrestling for life with an unseen power. At 3 o’clock the “hooter” sounded from distant colliery. Whether this or mere physical exhaustion brought them back from the world of timelessness, I could not tell. Soberly and reverently they went out into the morning air, eager as themselves. Many of the colliers [coal miners], I know, had “only time for a wash and breakfast” and were at the colliery to join the morning “shift.”
Source: “The Welsh Revival (by a Welsh Correspondent).” The London Times (London), January 3, 1905.
Revival is not a calendared event in a church. It is not an evangelistic crusade, although evangelism is an expected result of revival. It is not confined to a place or a time outside of the human heart.
Revival is best defined as what happens to God’s people when He is present. It is truly the birthright of every child of God…
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ
What happens when God manifests His presence in an experiential way among His people? In the first decade of the twentieth century, believers around the world encountered the presence of God in a well-documented, global event. Here is one description, drawn from the revival in the Khassia hills region of India in March 1905:
Shillong is a fashionable Hill station, and the seat of Government; a difficult place in which to lead a truly spiritual life. Here a large proportion of the Christian community consisted of young people born of Christian parents, instructed in Scripture truth, yet who had never come into living touch with a personal Saviour…
Many felt that the Glory of the Infinite God was actually visible in the building. Special prayer had been offered up here as elsewhere. Attendance became larger and expectancy grew. Then one night while a not very prominent member of the church was leading in prayer, he prayed for the Spirit and pleaded so earnestly, as if his soul was parched with thirst, and faint with hunger. Then others began, while he still prayed, to pray in whispers, which went on to loud cries, and the greater part of the congregation burst out in piercing cries for mercy; while others shouted with ecstasy at the sight of a Saviour “able to save.” . . .
Another young man, a Christian, but irreverent, felt great terror. The trifling, jocular way he had so often used in handling the holy things and words of God, appeared now in its true light. Fear and trembling seized him. He felt as if some unseen hand was twisting him, and for days was unable to leave his bed He arose a thoughtful, earnest, God-fearing man. . . .
Many present in the chapel that night–witnesses whose word can be relied on–state that they saw clouds hanging over the brother who stood praying at the commencement. To some the clouds appeared so dense that the light of the lamp was not visible. Others saw them as fiery clouds. After that came reviving and precious times; wayward and prodigal children coming home crying for mercy…
The presence of God… He is the author, source, and sustainer of life as He intends it to be.Source: Helen S. Dyer, Revival in India: Years of the Right Hand of the Most High (New York: Gospel Publishers, 1907), 35-36.