Muffled sounds could be heard from one of our bedrooms as my husband reached the top of the stairs. The serious tone of our little girls’ voices grabbed his attention so he stood just outside their bedroom door, listening intently. Although he couldn’t see them, their words painted a clear picture. They had gathered all of their baby dolls into their closet and were “hiding them from the Nazis”. This warmed my husband’s heart and he smiled as he remembered our reading to them selected passages from Corrie Ten Boom’s, book, The Hiding Place.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, The Hiding Place is the true life account of the ten Boom family’s life in Holland during World War II. The gentle ten Boom family risked everything to harbor Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Their home was eventually raided by the Gestapo and they were caught and sent to concentration camps where all of them, except Corrie, died. The Jews they harbored in a secret hidden room, however, managed to escape.
This story of our girls in their closet hiding their “Jewish” baby dolls is one of our favorites and as we look back now we can see how their hearts for Christ, the downtrodden and the marginalized were being formed in those early years, even in their play.
Admittedly, we should be wise about what stories, or what details of those stories, we tell our children. We do not want to scare them or traumatize them. But at the same time, it is important that we give them real heroes who have sacrificed greatly for their faith if we hope to raise children whose character will graduate beyond the superficial, sensate culture we have become. Remember, God’s Word is filled with real life harrowing accounts of men and women who have given all for the sake of the Gospel.
As our world grows increasingly cold and hostile to Christ, we owe it to our children and to God, to train them to love Him with all of their hearts, regardless of the cost. I don’t claim to know the future, but I believe difficult days are ahead for those who love Christ. Paul warned Timothy of the inevitable struggle that waits for followers of Christ:
“In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 3:12-16
Moms, if we don’t provide heroes for our children, the world will. Read books like The Hiding Place to your children. Read them the biblical accounts of men and women whose love for Christ compelled them to put their own lives at risk. Teach them by your own example that sacrifice for Christ is not merely something to be talked about; it is something to be lived. By doing these things you will rescue them from the emptiness of shallow and selfish living that is robbing an entire generation of the joy of living for and loving Christ. This is the only life that matters.
“Christians given to formality only seem to respect losing everything for Christ if those who have done so are safely dead, preferably for centuries.” – Joseph Foreman