Learning to give thanks in all things…
Can we ever be too thankful? I think not, and I believe Scripture backs me up. Yet life is often hard, and it becomes so easy to fall into the habit of fretting, complaining, or even despair.
Perhaps you already know of Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom.
Two middle-aged unmarried sisters incarcerated in the Ravensbrück concentration camp during WWII for the ‘crime’ of hiding Jews from Nazi extermination
But their long years of faith and walking with God helped them endure those harsh conditions, and in a certain sense, to even prosper there. Especially Betsy, with her childlike faith and trust.
Even after being herded into filthy flea-infested barracks.
“How can we live in such a place?” Corrie wailed. To which Betsy calmly prayed, “Show us. Show us how.” And Corrie realized her sister was praying. “Reread that chapter we read this morning, Corrie,” she shouted.
“That’s it! That’s the answer!” Betsy cried out at that verse. “Let’s start by thanking God for every single thing about this barracks!” But poor Corrie’s faith wasn’t quite up to that at the moment. And looking about the grimy, foul-smelling room she inquired skeptically, “Such as?”
So Betsy prayed, thanking God for his blessings to them – even in that seemingly God-forsaken place.
- “Thank you, Lord, that we’re here together,” she prayed.
Corrie bit her lip at that one.
- “And that you enabled us to smuggle the New Testament in,” she added.
“Oh yes, thank you Lord!” Corrie repeated.
- “And since it’s so over-crowded, many more women will be able to hear its message!”
With a remorseful, repentant heart, Corrie repeated each of her sister’s praises as they prayed out loud.
And then Betsy went on to thank the Lord, even for the fleas.
But that was too much for Corrie. “The fleas? No Betsy, not even God could make me grateful for fleas!”
“Give thanks in everything and in all circumstances,” Betsy reminded her. So Corrie thanked God for the fleas, though convinced her sister had it all wrong.
Only weeks later did she learn how right Betsy was, once again. For those fleas kept the guards from entering the barracks, granting them free reign to read the Bible without discovery!
Give thanks in everything, even fleas!
We all face difficult circumstances, though perhaps none as overwhelming as those the ten Boom family faced. And it would be easy to give in to worry and despair. Like Corrie nearly did, and might have, had it not been for Betsy’s great trust and faith.
So this is a reminder to become more like Betsy, always looking for God’s hand in our lives, and remembering:
- That God’s keeping power is enough to keep us safe even in life’s greatest storms.
- That God is an everlasting help in time of trouble, no matter how bleak it all seems.
- That God’s light can outshine even the darkest of places.
- That wants us to give thanks in all things and in every circumstance.
- That there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.
Betsy found at least 3 things for which to thank God – even in the depravity of Ravensbrück. My circumstances are not nearly as bleak as theirs, and likely yours aren’t either.
So when all seems bleak, let’s work at remembering that God is always with us and working things out according to his plan. And to thank him in all things-even fleas!
Cultivate a heart of thanksgiving, and look for God’s hand in your life at all times!
Images: Woman praising from Pixabay. | Hearts from Pixabay. | Corrie ten Boom by unknown photographer – De geschiedenis van de familie Ten Boom (1921), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58051064