Lately I’ve been thinking about Christian heroines that have really impacted me, and of course, Betsie ten Boom ranked high on the list.
Perhaps it was because her sister Corrie held her in such regard that I found myself so inspired by her, but beyond that, I admired how her Christ-like attitude spilled into her every task. Reading through the books In My Father’s House, The Hiding Place, and Tramp for the Lord, I have gained a small glimpse into Bestie’s life. She truly was a Proverbs 31 woman.
Seven years older than Corrie, Betsie was always there to give advice and comfort. In her late teens and early twenties, Corrie would at times be suddenly called upon by her uncle to help out at the “everyday church” – a small cathedral were a few faithful people showed up each afternoon for a half-hour of teaching. Once, when Corrie was completely at a loss, she ran to Betsie, who unhesitatingly whipped up an outfit, sermon outline, and hymns for Corrie – meanwhile promising her prayers of support.
Betsie could be a strong wall as well as a springboard. In taking a Bible School program, Corrie failed the examination due to a heavy workload. When she went home to be comforted by Betsie, the big sister instead looked at her and said:
“When you have failed an examination, Corrie, you know your whole life you have failed; when you do it again, then you know your whole life that you have succeeded and have the diploma.”
Needless to say, Corrie did retake the examination and passed.
Weakened by severe anemia, Betsie was never very strong, but she put her whole self into every task. With each task, her clean, tidy, beauty-loving personality shone through. Nothing daunted her, the same determination that enabled her to make room in the tiny Beje for half a dozen rambunctious children prepared her for the art of transforming a prison cell into a charming oasis.
So, those were some aspects of Betsie that really intrigued me. However, what I loved most was the root from which all this blossomed out. Betsie had a living, vibrant relationship with God, and it only grew stronger through each trial. She knew how to make Christ her fortress and shelter. That act of child-like trust and devotion spilled out into every facet of her life. Every time I read about Betsie, I find myself challenged to look at my own life. Do I place complete devotion and trust in Christ – what could possibly keep me back from that divine security?
So, now for the ‘pitching tents’ part. I heard this saying from a pastor once, and it came to mind as I reflected on Betsie’s surrendered life: “Never pitch your tent”.
May we all press further into Jesus and never be content to settle down – our relationship with Christ is an eternal journey – we can never say we have gone “far enough” for Him.