Corrie ten Boom and her family were arrested for hiding and protecting Jews during the World War II. In her book “Hiding Place”, she relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful no matter what. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the notorious Ravensbruch concentration camp. On entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested. “Betsie, how can we live in such a place?” Corrie wondered. Betsy said she found the answer in the Scripture reading for that day: “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 too all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18). Betsy first thanked God for the very crowding place because that meant many people would be part of their bible study group. She went on to thank God for the fleas. At first Corrie refused to give thanks for the fleas. Because Betsy insisted, Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings. During the months spent at Ravensbruch, they were surprised to find that how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without the interference from the prison guards. Later they learned the reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas. Before Betsy’s death in the prison camp, she told Corrie, “There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still.” Fifteen days later Corrie was released due to a clerical error.
Is it possible to give thanks in all circumstances? I hope Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy’s story will encourage and inspire us to do just that. Let us remember and trust Jesus’ words, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) With that in mind, I invite you to look back, count your blessings, and name them one by one.
Thanksgiving will not be complete without actually “giving” something to someone else. After the war, Corrie opened rehabilitation center in Netherland for concentration camp survivors. With the forgiving and loving spirit of Jesus, she also reached out to those who had cooperated with the Germans during the occupation. Both the victims and perpetrators, she believed, were traumatized and needed healing and recovery. She traveled to over 60 countries to spread the message of love, peace, forgiveness, and faith in name of Jesus Christ. So, the second invitation I’d like to extend to all of us is generous giving. Here are several opportunities you can take advantage of:
–donate used bicycles for refugees, or give them a ride and meet them on November 11 (see page 9)
— Be part of Jingle Bell Express by adopting a cradle, donating books or Christmas presents, or volunteering (See page 7)
–Help prepare and serve Community Thanksgiving Dinner ( see page 7)
–Be a blood donor and give blood on November 19th.
— Become a Volunteer at Food Pantry or Sunshine Resale shop of CCSC.
–Give a generous financial gift to Faith’s ministries this holiday season.
— Deliberate acts of kindness this holiday season.
(This article was written for Mountain Mover [November, 2017], the monthly newsletter of Faith Lutheran Church, https://faithbellaire.org/about-2/mountain-mover-newsletter/ )