July 16

July 16
by Terry Abel

Be Thankful

“Give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

As the weeks march on with shelter-in-place,  I’m a bit reminded of Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, a book in which she describes what it was like to spend time being imprisoned  in a  German concentration camp during World War Two.  Although we are spending time living in “palaces,” compared to the prison where she was, I do believe there are similarities to our confinements, although what we’re enduring is but a tiny fraction of what she experienced.

For those of you who don’t know who Corrie was, she was a very strong Christian spinster who lived in Holland with her widowed watchmaker father and spinster sister Betsie and, along with these two family members, hid Jews from the Nazis during WWII.  In the book The Hiding Place, she details all their “adventures,” including when they were imprisoned at Ravensbruck, a horrific concentration camp, after being arrested for hiding Jews.  Although she suffered many hardships at the camp – hunger, cold, lack of shelter, humiliation due to forced nakedness in front of guards, as well as horrible infestations of lice and fleas, she said that what really helped make it bearable for her, was being able to endure practically everything with her older sister Betsie.  Betsie was a very positive person, and she used to say to Corrie, “There is no pit in which God is not deeper.”  On a particularly terrible day in which Corrie’s mood was worse than usual and she was throwing a pity party for herself, Betsie reminded her to be thankful for everything, including fleas.  After she had grudgingly thanked God even for fleas, He showed her the silver lining of them.  Forced with her sister to knit gray socks all day in a huge room with other prisoners, she was happy the yarn was full of fleas because the cruel   prison guards wouldn’t go near the flea infested room, and she and her sister could freely hold Bible Studies in that room without fear of the German guards finding out, making these spiritual sisters, and the women they ministered to, have faith that grew even stronger, despite the terrible conditions.  As Corrie most eloquently states in the book, “The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God.”

Heavenly Father,

Especially on those days when we feel limited by this virus, help us to give thanks even for it, and in so doing, help us see the silver lining we may have missed, because we were so troubled by the “fleas,” or annoyances it may have brought on.  In our daily walk with you, help us always to be thankful, Amen.

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