He was a humble watchmaker who lived in the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands who had a passion for God. He lovingly opened up his home to everyone and was equally at home with the rich and the poor. Though he was a poor man, who struggled to support his family, he never turned away anyone in need. Water could always be added to the soup and bread could always be sliced just a bit thinner in the ten Boom home.
Though he was not a man of great wealth or power, the community where he lived held him in such esteem that he was known as "Haarlem's Grand Old Man". Most important of all, he loved God and was willing to sacrifice everything everything he held dear for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ... and he did.
During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII, Casper (though in his 80's) and his family were deeply involved in The Dutch Underground, opening up their home as a hiding place for Jews who were fleeing deportation, imprisonment and possibly even death. What was their crime? They were Jews.
Knowing the risk, the ten Boom family decided to take it. They could not stand by idly while innocent people suffered and died. They could not, of course save everyone but they could try to save whoever God brought to their door. Often we look at the enormity of the task before us. We know that we as individuals cannot take the Gospel to every single person so often... we give up and don't take it to anyone. God is not asking us to individually to take the Gospel to every single person. He is asking us to share it with those around us.
On February 28, 1944, on a tip from an informant, the Gestapo raided the ten Boom home and arrested Casper and his daughters. Miraculously, those in "the hiding place" were not found and were later rescued by the Underground. Casper was nearly 85 years old.
The Gestapo offered to allow him to go home and peacefully die in his own bed. Apparently, even they were moved by the sight of Haarlem's Grand Old Man. However, he had to promise to stop doing what he was doing. Casper's response was:
If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door to anyone who knocks for help.
He was then told that he could die for his actions. What was his reply?
It would be an honor to give my life for God's chosen people.
That is exactly what he did. Ten days later, Casper ten Boom died in prison. A prisoner and yet...
Many Christians do not like to hear stories such as these because they do not want to face the possibility that they may be called upon to suffer and perhaps even die for the sake of the Gospel. Truthfully, I think when we insist that God's people will never endure hardship and suffering, I think we spit upon the faces of these dear saints who have suffered and even given their lives! In doing so, I believe we even spit upon the face of Jesus Christ who suffered and died for our salvation!
When faced with the same challenges as Casper ten Boom, what would we do? Would we do as he did and follow Jesus even if that path led to our physical death or would we promise not to do it anymore and go home to our house and back to our bed?
May we count the cost for following Christ... and be willing to pay it.
This blog is part of a series entitled Those Who Counted The Cost...And Paid It