He Cares, He Comforts (by Corrie ten Boom)

Browsing through our ‘Christian’ bookshelves, I came across this little book by Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch writer from the 20th century who became well-known due to her autobiographical account of imprisonment during World War II, ‘The Hiding Place’.

‘He cares, he comforts’ consists of over twenty little vignettes, each one just two or three pages long. They are intended to offer comfort and reassurance to people going through intensely stressful times, often including bereavement or terminal illness. Most of them are personal anecdotes recounting occasions when the author herself was able to offer suitable advice, comfort or help: not to overcome the situation itself, but to help the person gain the strength to go on.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I read it in just a couple of days; there are less than a hundred pages in all. Perhaps the translation from Dutch has lost something in the process, but it seemed to me that quite a few of these accounts were simplistic, even patronising at times. I’m sure they weren’t intended that way, and that they did help the people concerned in the ways that were described. But each situation is different; each person has different needs. A story that might bring immense hope to one person might bring another almost to despair.

Still, there were a handful of the stories that I found thought-provoking, and I can see that for some people this book might provide a lifeline; particularly if they are asking questions about the Christian faith and want some reassurance and guidance.

No longer in print, but this is the kind of book often found in charity shops or church bookstalls; I'd say it's worth dipping into if you can find it inexpensively.

Review copyright 2015 Sue's Book Reviews

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