Have you ever heard the story of Corrie and Betsie ten Boom thanking God for the fleas? Sound strange? This story is a great one that may challenge you to grow in your trust in God.
These two compassionate Christian sisters hid Jewish people in Holland from Hitler’s demonic intent to eradicate them all in World War Two. Eventually, Corrie and Betsy were caught and sent to Ravensbrück, one of many horrific concentration camps. Miraculously, they had smuggled a Bible in with them.
Shortly after they arrived, their three high beds were covered with rancid stray for bedding. When Corrie laid down, she suddenly shot out of the bed because something was biting her. She instinctively knew that she was being bitten by fleas and it really hurt! Betsy started praying, “Show us. Show us.” The Lord answered her prayer quickly. He reminded her of the Scripture they had read that morning from 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18.
Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus …
Betsie told her sister Corrie that the Lord wanted them to give thanks for everything in their barracks. Corrie was not so sure so she asked, “Such as?” Little by little, Betsie started naming things, and Corrie repeated each one. They thanked God that they were together in the same barracks; that they were not inspected by the guards. She exclaimed, “Betsie, not even God can make me thankful for fleas.”
Betsie gently reminded her sister Corrie, ” ‘Give thanks in all circumstances,” Betsie corrected. “It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.” So they stood between the stacks of bunks and gave thanks for fleas; though on that occasion Corrie thought Betsie was surely wrong.
Weeks later, Betsie found out why God wanted them to thank Him for the fleas. Because of those critters, no one from the German army would enter their barracks, which gave them the freedom to read the Bible and pray with the other ladies in the camp.
Two things stick out in this story. First, Betsie asked the Lord for an answer. He spoke to her by reminding her of their Bible reading that morning. Second, they thanked God in their very difficult circumstances.
This week, I invite you to join me in thanking God in all our circumstances. If you struggle to do this, tell Jesus and ask Him to speak to you about it.