I’ve been listening to Eric Metaxas’ great book Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness. Last night as I listened to the chapter about Corrie Ten Boom, one of the accounts hit me deeply this week of Thanksgiving.
Corrie and her sister had been moved into a different barracks at the German concentration camp where they were imprisoned for hiding Jews during WWII. They realized that not only was the straw on the beds rancid, it was also infested with fleas. As Corrie struggled with anger at the continued cruel and dehumanizing treatment they were facing, her sister Betsie reminded her of the verse they had read and discussed that morning from their treasured smuggled Bible.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:18
It was God’s will for them to give thanks in all circumstances. Betsie challenged Corrie to give thanks for everything - including the fleas. Corrie struggled against this but eventually did so as a sheer act of obedience and submission to God.
Time went by, and eventually an underground church of sorts developed in their barracks. Women of different nation and language and doctrinal backgrounds would join together under a single bare lightbulb each evening to read and sing and pray. Amazingly, the guards never disturbed them or found them.
Eventually, the source of their protection became clear- the guards would not enter their barracks because of the fleas. Those fleas were a miraculous gift from God as they provided a way for ongoing strength, protection, encouragement, and a way for the light of Jesus to shine in the deepest darkness.
Obedient gratitude grows us into people with gritty faith- faith with teeth. Gratitude is a choice to say, even in the darkest moments, “Lord, I don’t understand how or why or what you are doing. But I trust you. You are good. You see me. You are not capricious. All things- even this hard thing- work together for my good and Your glory. So even though it hurts, thank you.”
Our world is so dark and broken and groaning. But He is good, so good.
“Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good.” - Psalm 100:4-5