When Life Gives You Fleas

So let me just preface this by saying that I’m not nor will I ever be the girl who loves making New Years resolutions. However, this January, I decided to challenge myself to finish at least one book a month. I love to read, so finishing 12 books this year will be a breeze, but my problem comes with finishing 1 a month. I’m that person who starts in on 4 different books at the same time because they all sound so good, therefore it takes me awhile to finish a book. This month I read the book “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. Wow. If you want to learn about radical love and be challenged to live like Christ, then read this book.

Betsie and Corrie Ten Boom looked at life through spiritual lenses. Incredibly, with each hardship and discouragement, and tragedy, their testimony and faith grew even stronger. In what most everyone would see as a travesty, they would see an opportunity.

What things in life does God give us that look at the time like a disappointment, discouragement, annoyance, tragedy, but in all actuality are a cover for God’s good works?

When Corrie Ten Boom and Betsie Ten Boom arrived at Ravensbrook Concentration Camp, it looked as though things were as bad as they could be. They were stuck outside in the rain, standing/laying on lice infested grounds for 3 days before they even saw the inside of a building.  Then they were taking to a claustrophobic holding barrack that slept 5 to a bed with one blanket. Sometime later, they were sent to their assigned, official barracks. These barracks were barbaric. Prisoners slept on moldy hay with 9 to a bed. The beds were on shelving units and sometimes the bed on top would break and the women would fall to the bed below. There were only 8 toilets for 400 women and the worst part? The barrack was infested with fleas. Upon arrival, Betsie said they must thank God in all circumstances. As they were thanking God, Betsie thanked God for the fleas. At this, Corrie protested! For this God couldn’t be asking them to be thankful. What good could there be from flea infestation? Months later, Corrie found out that the reason guards never patrolled their barracks, and the reason they were able to lead worship services was because of the fleas.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of situations in my life where I’ve been disappointed or frustrated and I thought this could not be a part of the Lord’s plan. Even God would not ask me to be thankful in this situation, yet I never know what is going on behind the scenes. For that very reason, I must be thankful in all circumstances. Corrie and Betsie grew into the incredible faith they possessed. Upon being arrested, the Bible became their lifeline. They read it daily to the point of having books memorized. The Word truly was in their heart, and praying was their language and loving others was their service. They didn’t go throughout their day and think oh I have to make time for Jesus. He was in their thoughts 24/7 365. This was evident in their faith and their actions. The only way to attain a faith like that is to walk through the fire and be refined. I wonder what a faith like that would look like in my life? What would it look like to be so in tune with the father that I love others radically, I forgive and pray for my perpetrators, I am unashamed of sharing the gospel? Do I have the guts to pray for refinement? Do I have the stamina? What am I seeing as a nuisance that God is using for his greatness?

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