A Lesson from the ten Boom Sisters in Being Thankful

 We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is "good," because it is good, if "bad" because it works in us patience, humility, and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.- C. S. Lewis 

   Hi friends! With Thanksgiving being almost upon us, I wanted to share with you some thoughts on being thankful. I was thinking of Betsie and Corrie ten Boom giving thanks in a horrible Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Here's the story:
   The ten Boom sisters had just arrived at a new camp and realized the overcrowded barracks were also swarming with fleas. Corrie wondered how they could live in such a place, but her older sister, Betsie, said God had already given them the answer. She told Corrie to read the passage from the Bible they'd read that morning. Corrie went to First Thessalonians chapter five. When she came to verses sixteen through eighteen, "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus--", Betsie exclaimed, "That's it, Corrie! That's His answer! 'Give thanks in all circumstances!' We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!" 
Barracks at Ravensbruck concentration camp,
where Betsie and Corrie ten Boom were imprisoned.
  "Such as?" Corrie asked. 
   "Such as being assigned here together," Betsie said, and Corrie agreed. They went on to thank God that they had been able to keep their Bible, that there were so many people there who would be able to hear God's Word, and then Betsie gave thanks for the fleas.
   The fleas! Corrie thought. "Betsie," she said, "there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea." 
   "'Give thanks in all circumstances,'" Betsie quoted, "It doesn't say 'in pleasant circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us." 
   So they gave thanks for the fleas. But Corrie felt sure that this time Betsie was wrong. 
   Time passed, the days filled with hard work and cruel guards, but every evening the women in their barracks would gather round to hear the Word. They were grateful they were able to read the Bible, but they wondered why the guards didn't stop them.
   Then, one day, Betsie learned why. It was because of the fleas! The guards refused to enter that barracks because they knew it was infested with fleas. God had a purpose, even for those horrible fleas. 
Betsie and Corrie ten Boom with their father (seated between them on the couch)
and Jews and other refugees they sheltered in their home.
   Wow! If they could give thanks in such terrible conditions, I thank we ought to be able to be thankful, too. The Apostle Paul, who wrote those verses in First Thessalonians, was beaten, flogged, stoned, imprisoned, and finally died a martyr's death. Yet he was still able to give thanks.
​   Sometimes, our eyes are so fixed on the difficulties, the hard things, in our lives, that we can't see anything to be grateful for. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, and then look at all the good things He's given us, we can give thanks. My life is so full of good things: loving family, good friends, a warm house, delicious food, leaves arrayed in their fall colors... and I'm sure you have much you can give thanks for, too. And even if it seems there is absolutely nothing else to be thankful for, we've been given the best gift ever: Jesus Christ who died and rose again to save us from our sins and give us eternal life with Him. Nothing will ever take that away, and we can always give thanks for that. And, like C. S. Lewis said in the quote at the beginning of this post, we can give thanks in hard times because it draws us closer to the Lord and helps us look forward to Heaven. 
   Well, friends, have a happy Thanksgiving and always remember, "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it," (1 Thessalonians 5:24). 
   All for Him,
Savannah Jane
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill 
Note: This post was originally published on my old blog (writtenonyourheart.weebly.com) in November of 2018. 


Post a Comment