From In My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom
(released 2011 by Lighthouse Trails Publishing)
A child is not fearless, contrary to what his parents may think at times. A child is often a bundle of unexpressed fears, unknown terrors, and shadowy worries. I was afraid of the doctor’s office, my family’s leaving me, and the mystery of death.
Nollie’s nightgown was my contact with security. We slept in the same bed, and I can remember clinging to Nollie’s nightgown as long as she would allow me. Poor Nollie, when she would try to turn, she would be anchored by my little fist clasping her tightly.
One time, Mother took Nollie and me to visit a woman whose baby had died. I wished Nollie had been allowed to wear her nightgown on that journey, because I needed desperately to hang onto it.
We climbed a narrow staircase and entered the poorly furnished room of one of Mama’s “lame ducks” (the name we children had given to her protégées). Although we often did not have sufficient money for ourselves, Mother always found someone who was in greater need.
In that shabby little room was a crib with a baby inside. It didn’t move at all and its skin was very white. Nollie stood next to the crib and touched the baby’s cheek.
“Feel that,” she said to me, “it’s so cold.”
I touched the little hand and then ran to my mother and buried my face in her lap. I had touched death for the first time, and it seemed that the impression of cold remained with me for hours and hours.
When we returned home, I ran up the narrow stairs to my bedroom and leaned against the antique chest of drawers. There was an enormous fear in my heart—almost terror. In my imagination, I pictured the future in which I saw myself all alone, my family gone, and I left desolate. My family was my security, but that day I saw death and knew they could die, too. I had never thought about it before.
The dinner bell rang downstairs, and I was so grateful to go to the big oval table, get warm again, and feel the security of being with my family. I thought how stupid the grown-ups would think I was if I told them about the fear which was still in my heart.
I ate dinner quietly that night, which was not easy when you are in the midst of such a lively family. Our dinner table spilled over with conversation.
After dinner, Father took the Bible, as he always did and began to read the lines from Psalm 46:2:
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
I sat up straight in my chair and stared at my father. I didn’t know much about mountains, living in flat, flat Holland, but I certainly knew a lot about fear. I thought Papa must have known exactly what my problem was that night.
My faith in Papa, and in the words he read from the Bible, was absolute. If they said not to fear, then God would take care of it. I felt secure again. (from chapter 2 of In My Father’s House)