“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) You might have heard that verse many times. I understood it in a new way after reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. She was a Christian evangelist who hid Jews during the holocaust and was imprisoned because of it. When Corrie and her sister, Betsie, entered one of the filthy prisons infested with fleas and were both starving, they cried out to the Lord to help them.
As they lay side-by-side on a bunk with several other women, 1 Thessalonians 5 came to Betsie: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
She turned to Corrie and shared these words. Corrie in turn asked what on earth they could give thanks for. Betsie said that they were actually able to be together in prison and that their Bible miraculously had not been confiscated.
Then, Betsie prayed, “And thank you, Lord, for the fleas.” Corrie told her sister that she could never give thanks for fleas, but Betsie reminded her that it is God’s will to give thanks in all circumstances.
So, while lying on their flea- and lice-infested straw beds, they gave thanks for the fleas.
After some time, they noticed that the soldiers rarely came into the barracks where they slept. Betsie and Corrie did not know why, but it allowed them to share the light of Jesus to other women for hours during such a dark time.
One day, Betsie asked a supervisor to come to the barracks because she needed help. Betsie told Corrie, “‘[The supervisor] wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?’ Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas!’ That’s what she said, ‘That place is crawling with fleas!’”
Corrie wrote, “My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.”
Hours of ministering, changing lives, and offering hope in such a dismal time, all came because of the presence of fleas. If the fleas had not been there, none of that would have happened.
What is the hard thing in your life that God can use for good?
The Lord will indeed use all for his good if we do his will by “giving thanks always.” This daily shift in perspective can be hard and it takes discipline. But when we change our outlook, it shifts our eyes and hearts upon things eternal, and puts God’s purposes over ours.
Corrie writes, “Side by side, in the sanctuary of God’s fleas, Betsie and I ministered the Word of God to all in the room. We sat by deathbeds that became doorways of heaven. We watched women who had lost everything grow rich in hope.”
Whatever is happening in your life, remember the words Paul spoke long ago that relate to us even now: “In everything God works for the good of those who love him.”
To learn more about Linsey visit www.LinseyDriskill.com. You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram @BeautifulHeartedParenting.