1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Recently, I read the book, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. It’s the true story of a Dutch woman who was found harboring Jews during World War II. Corrie, the author, and her sister Betsie, find themselves held prisoner by cruel Nazi officers. Corrie and Betsie are subjected to various forms of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of their captors. They are stripped and shamed, starved and tortured, humiliated and beaten. The women were forced to do back-breaking work, march in the dead of winter at all hours of the day and night. They were sleep deprived, and lived in filth without basic necessities.
Among the horrors, as they stepped into the Herzogenbusch Political Concentration Camp barracks that was to be their residence, they were faced with the fact that their new “home” was infested with fleas, and lice. In her book, Corrie recalls that Betsie, said she was thankful for the fleas. Corrie couldn’t see a reason to be thankful for the fleas. Then one day, she found out that the biting, itching, infestation was the reason that the guards wouldn’t set foot in the barracks. This gave Corrie and her sister freedom to read a small Bible they had smuggled into the prison camp. The Holy Word was available to the needy women because of fleas.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
He makes EVERYTHING work out for the best in our lives. Do you believe it? Can you let Him show you? It’s hard to be thankful in all things. I learned this lesson and wrote about it here http://bartonmama.blogspot.com/2013/03/it-was-regular-day.html on my personal blog in March of 2013. My daughter’s precious pets, a flock of beautiful laying hens was killed by a fox. It was a terrible day. There were tears, and I was angry. In the midst of cleaning up the aftermath of the chickens, my little girl, 11 years old at the time, thanked God for letting the chickens die. She actually said out loud, “Thank you God for the time I had with my chickens, thank you for letting the fox kill them, I know you are going to do something good now.” I still tear up as I read those sweet words, because, she meant them.
I still don’t know how that happened. I don’t know how a child had more faith in God, and His plan, than I did. I don’t know how she was wise enough to thank God for the fox that killed her babies, but she was. I am stil in awe of that day, and her courage to do what God asked her to do even when it didn’t make sense.
As I think of these things, I ask myself, “What are my fleas and foxes?”. What are the things that seem awful, that Jesus wants to turn in to lessons, mercies, and beauty in my life? Am I brave enough to thank Him for all things? Could I thank Him for a particularly stressful day? Maybe. How about a night with no sleep? Doubtful. What if my child was hurt or killed? Could I thank Him? Probably not.
These days, my fleas and foxes are minor. They are the grocery bills that seem to eat away at a chance to save. They are the dirty handprints smeared along my kitchen walls, and late nights waiting for my husband to finally come home from work. They are realities like living far away from family. They are a thousand little things that make my perfectionist’s personality a little crazy.
For now, my fleas and foxes are things I can live with, but I’m not thrilled about them. One day things will change. Sooner or later, I will have to choose to thank God for something that feels more like a punishment than a blessing or inconvenience. I’m praying that in that moment, I will trust God to help me remember that His will in my life is always a blessing. Today, I’m going to choose to be thankful for my everyday fleas and foxes.
A few are coming to me now. I see a mountain of laundry and a pile of dirty dishes. They look that way every day. It never ends. The “work” of being a mom and wife is my fox today. But if there were no children, there wouldn’t be any dishes to wash or meals to make. There would be no laundry if there weren’t any babies to get their jeans dirty. If my family lived closer, I wouldn’t be forced to forge deep relationships with friends. My husband has a job to stay late at. There’s so much for us to thank our Father for!
I’d love to hear what your fleas and foxes are. Maybe they seem small, or they might just be overwhelming. But I believe, you can ever go wrong when you thank God for ALL THINGS in your life. His plan is always best, and I’m praying we can trust Him with all of our fleas and foxes. I’m looking forward to hearing about yours!
Writing in answer to His call,