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The Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom’s autobiography The Hiding Place includes an exchange with her Father about ‘sex’ that provides an illustration regarding the sanctity of sex. The story probably took place around the turn of the century in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Raised in a strong Christian home, Corrie and her Father’s lives and experiences are beautifully written and will challenge you to consider life during World War II, in a Nazi concentration camp, and finding forgiveness in the aftermath.

I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described ‘a young man whose face was not shadowed by sex-sin.’ I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her. In those days just after the turn of the century sex was never discussed, even at home.
So the line had stuck in my head. ‘Sex,’ I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or a girl, and ‘sin’ made Tante (Aunt) Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine. And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, ‘Father, what is sex-sin?’
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
‘Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?’ he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
‘It’s too heavy,’ I said.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.’
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied–wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions–for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.



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