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Friday, November 18, 2011

The Ones Nobody Else Wants

I’ve been reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It’s rich with courage, faith and heartache – here’s one such scene.

Eusie was a man who had obvious Jewish features, according to ten Boom. So, for him, finding a hiding place wasn’t all that easy. The razzia (German police) would easily identify and arrest him if they saw him. Nobody wanted to take a chance with him in their home. But the ten Boom’s took him into their Holland home, the Beje. And when it came time to find a hiding place for another hard to place person, Eusie was the first one to come to her defense.

Mary Itallie, a 76-year-old woman with a severe case of asthma, showed up at the Beje one day. She couldn’t find a place to hide because her wheezing would give her away if the razzia showed up. That meant trouble for everyone in the house. The nine people who were already staying in the Beje gathered to consider taking Mary in.

Here’s what happened next:
“There is no sense in pretending,” [Corrie] began. “Mary has a difficulty – especially after climbing stairs – that could put you all in danger.”

In the silence that followed, Mary’s labored breathing seemed especially loud.

“Can I speak?” Eusie asked.

“Of course.”

“It seems to me that we’re all here in your house because of some difficulty or other. We’re the orphan children– the ones nobody else wanted. Any one of us is jeopardizing all the others. I vote that Mary stay.”
They put it to a secret ballot.

All nine people voted in favor of Mary staying.

Most of us will never have to endure the type of pressure these ten people (including Mary) were under. In a free and open society, we can choose to be a host family to orphan children without fear of repercussion. I don’t just mean in the literal sense, although adoption is a beautiful thing.

Instead I’m talking about a lifestyle – inviting the lonely to dinner, approaching the loner at church, putting a hand on an elderly man’s shoulder who may not remember the last time someone touched him, really listening to that eccentric aunt everyone else avoids during Christmas dinner.

All of us could be more intentional this way, couldn’t we?


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