Many of you reading this will likely be familiar with the book “The Hiding Place” and with its author, Corrie Ten Boom. Nevertheless, for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with the book (or the larger story behind it) let me give a brief background. The story centers around the Ten Boom family, living in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II and the part they played in protecting Jews from the murderous intentions of Adolf Hitler and the German Army. This they did by hiding them in the attic of their home until they could be smuggled out of the occupied territories and into safe countries. Unfortunately, they were ‘found out’ and entire Ten Boom family was arrested and imprisoned. Now, perhaps you are wondering why I am telling you this? Well, with Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, there is a particular story from “The Hiding Place” that I would like to share with you. It is Corrie’s account of an incident that the Lord used to teach her to always be thankful.
As the story goes, a short time after their arrest, Corrie and her sister, Betsy, were transferred to Ravensbruck – perhaps the worst of the German concentration camps. On entering the women’s barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested, leaving Corrie quite distressed and even a bit depressed. Interestingly (and as providence would have it) the next morning, their Scripture reading was in 1Thessalonians Chapter 5, and particularly verses 16-18, where they were exhorted to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Corrie records that upon hearing those verses, Betsy immediately asked her to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. At first, Corrie was reluctant, but at Betsy’s continued encouragement she agreed to pray and thank God – but, with a few reservations: she flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas. But Betsy persisted, and Corrie finally ‘acquiesced’ to her pleadings to give thanks to God for everything… including the fleas. And this is where the story gets interesting: During the months they spent at Ravensbruck, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without interference from the guards. It was not until several months later that they learned the reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas!
Here’s my question for you this morning: might there be something in your life presently that has you embittered? Perhaps it is a circumstance or situation that you have failed to approach with an ‘attitude of gratitude’. Ask God to give you spiritual eyes to see what it is that He is doing in your life through these things… and then, be Thankful for them. They are, no doubt, things that He is working together for your good and for His glory. That’s His promise to you!
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thessalonians 5:16 – 18)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, O LORD… and sing praises unto Thy name.” (Psalm 18:49)
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.” (Psalm 118:1)