I hope you had a great weekend! Ours was very, very, busy but a lot of fun.
On Friday I posted about how we can give thanks in all things, but this topic is still on my heart and I thought I would share a story with you all that has been a huge inspiration to me. I don't know if any of you have read The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom, but if you haven't read it you need to! It's the heartbreaking, inspirational, and motivational story of two Christian sisters who tried to help Jews during the holocaust. These sisters were later arrested and sent to concentration camps. The book shares the highs and lows of their life prior to and during the holocaust, and today I want to share with you just one story. It is an amazing example of God's provision, and how He always does what's best for us:
Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.
"Fleas!" I cried . 'Betsie, the place is swarming with them!'
We scrambled across the intervening platforms, heads low to avoid another bump, dropped down to the aisle, and edged our way to a patch of light.
"Here! And here another one!" I wailed. "Betsie, how can we live in such a place!"
"Show us. Show us how." It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
"Corrie!" She said excitedly."He's given us the answer before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!"
I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. "It was in First Thessalonians," I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen. In the feeble light I turned the pages. “Here it is: ‘Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. …’ “ It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.
“Go on,” said Betsie. “That wasn’t all.”
“Oh yes: ‘…to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus–’ “
“That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances!’ That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!” I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
“Such as?” I said.
“Such as being assigned here together.”
I bit my lip. “oh yes, Lord Jesus!
“Such as what you’re holding in your hands.”
I looked down at the Bible. “Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all the women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.”
“Yes,” said Betsie. “Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!” She looked at me expectantly. “Corrie!” she prodded.
“Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds.”
“Thank You,” Betsie went on serenely, “for the fleas and for–” The fleas! This was too much. “Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.”
” ‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ ” she quoted. “It doesn’t say ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I as sure Betsie was wrong. (pg 180-181)The conditions grew increasingly worse, but yet during this time the women were able to continue reading their Bible. Then one day the sisters found out the reason for their fleas.
Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.
“You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,” I told her.
“You know we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,” she said.
“Well–I’ve found out.”
That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.
“But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”
Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: “Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, ‘That place is crawling with fleas!’
“My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for. (pg 189-190)This is why it's so important to thank God regardless of what we see. He loves us and though things may seem awful, if we are His child then He is looking out for our best interests! Even if that means we have to deal with fleas from time to time.
What fleas are you dealing with in your life? Are you ready to thank God for them, even if you'll never know why they were there? Can you trust that God knows what's best for you?
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18