Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Be grateful for the fleas?

Years ago I read a wonderful book by Corrie ten Boom. The Hiding Place told of her experience in a concentration camp during the Second World War. Her whole family had been turned in to the authorities for hiding Jews. They were sentenced to share their fate. Corrie and her sister were put into a dormitory/warehouse with about 300 women. It was hot, crowded and infested with fleas. One day, frightened and frustrated with things, Corrie challenged her sister, who seemed to stay upbeat and confident; "Give me one good reason to be grateful!" Her sister replied quietly, "We are together". That made her think. Her sister went on to say that they had a unique opportunity to share the gospel as, despite their treatment when they arrived, she had been able to hold on to her small New Testament. Corrie grumbled: "Well, alright, I guess I can see what you are saying. But I refuse to be grateful for these fleas!"

Corrie survived that experience and became a successful writer and lecturer. Many came to hear her talks. One day, a man stayed afterward and asked to speak with her. With tears in his eyes he begged for her forgiveness. He had been one of the guards in that camp. She could honestly tell him that she had forgiven him long ago. As they talked, she asked if he could explain one thing that had always puzzled her. All those years, when so many women were being abused by the guards, no one had taken the women from her building. "Oh," replied the man, "that was because of the fleas".

How many times we are working our way through some situation and it is so hard to stay confident, trusting inGod's care. It is hard to be grateful before the fact. Yet that is what Jesus did many times. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health; "The very circumstances, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares". I've had many times when those angels spoke so clearly to me and I was given the grace to listen and obey.

Go in peace...with gratitude.

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