Day 9 – Fleas
30 Days of Thanks
This won’t make sense to you unless you have read The Hiding Place, a true story about Corrie Ten Boom and her families experience during WWII. Next to the Bible it is my favorite book and I have read it many, many times but it never ceases to amaze me. Here is just one example of why…
Ravensbruck was known as one of the worst German concentration camps during World War II. When Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie found themselves imprisoned there, they were disgusted to discover that their barracks were infested with fleas.
When Corrie began to complain, Betsie insisted that they instead give thanks, quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” With some persuasion, Corrie finally joined her sister in thanking God for the fleas.
Several months later, the two sisters expressed their surprise that the camp guards had never come back to their barracks to disrupt or prevent the evening Bible studies they held for their fellow prisoners. It was then that Corrie realized that the very fleas which she had so despised had actually been a God-sent protection from the cruel guards.
I think of Corrie and Betsie’s story often, especially when I look back at an event and see God’s hand at work in our lives. For example, a few years ago I found myself giving thanks for poison ivy.
My son’s best friend, Jesse, got poison ivy. For days he struggled to control it but he couldn’t and it finally got to the point where he couldn’t stand the itching. Finally he went to the doctor. Jesse was only 19 at the time, and if you have teenage boys you know it isn’t easy to convince them to seek help. Anyway, he went and the doctor took one look at him and said, “You look really pale. Are you feeling okay?” When he admitted he’d been extra tired the doctor ordered a blood test. When the test results came back he received a phone call advising him to proceed immediately to the hospital. Normal hemoglobin count in a young male is about 15. His count was 5.
After 2 units of blood his color improved and his level increased to 8. He was released a day later but will be having further tests.
When I think about how awful he must have felt and how low his blood count was, I find myself once again giving thanks for poison ivy.
I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life I have experienced something that at the time felt like a bad case of poison ivy. Not literally, but figuratively and I bet it’s happened to you too.
Something bad happens and you suffer through it and as a result you gain a nugget of gold. Maybe it was something you learned, or maybe a blessing that came about only because of what happened. The point is at the time we can’t see any possible way that something good can come from something bad.
We can’t, but God can.
Sometimes it’s really, really hard to have enough faith to say, “God, there are things going on in my life that I don’t see any possible way that anything good could ever come from this, but I know you are in charge of the universe so I will place my trust in you.”
Thank you, Lord, for poison ivy, fleas and allowing me to place my trust in you! And thank you for women of faith, strength and courage like Corrie Ten Boom, whose life was well lived because she devoted herself to you!