This past May I was in Israel with a Group from our Church, learning and growing together as we retraced the steps of Jesus in the Land of the Bible. Oftentimes when I take a group to Israel we visit the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum In Jerusalem, When we do visit Yad Vashem I’m also reminded of the story of the great Christian author and speaker, Corrie Ten Boom. She was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in her closet. Eventually, she and other family members were imprisoned for assisting the Jews. The Hiding Place is a biography that recounts the story of her family’s efforts. Corrie’s stories have inspired Christians and others for many generations. One of her stories was about learning to thank God for the “fleas” she encountered in a prison camp.
The barracks where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsy, were kept in the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck, were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested. They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things they were to give thanks and that God can use anything for good. Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas. This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.
Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened: They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant that the women were not assaulted. It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp. Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ. Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks. It was because of the fleas.
As we learned several weeks ago in our Worship Services, we need to thank God for all of the good things that He has done. But we also need to thank Him for how He will use all things for good in the lives of those who trust Him (Romans 8:28). And whenever you feel like you don’t have much to thank God for, remember the fleas of Ravensbruck. And thank God anyway.