Betsie and Corrie ten Boom stood looking at their cold and cramped new home – the barracks at the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp . This place was supposed to be better than where they had just come from, but so far it did not look to be that way. The worst part was the thousands of fleas that swarmed in the beds, on the floor, and worst of all on the hundreds of crowded women. “Betsie, how can we live in such a place!” Corrie wailed as she looked around and winced at the pain of another flea biting her.
Betsie looked at the straw bunk she would be sharing with four other women. “Corrie, God has already given us the answer! Would you read what we read this morning to me again?”
Corrie slipped the tattered bible out from a pouch where she kept it under her clothes. “1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, ‘Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus’” She looked halfheartedly around the room.
“That’s it, Corrie! ‘Give thanks in all circumstances.’” Betsie bowed her head. “Lord, thank you that we are able to be here together. Thank you that we are packed so closely so that more people will be able to hear about you. And thank you Lord for the fleas.”
Betsie ten Boom understood God’s command to give thanks in every circumstance. There are many things about living in a family with divorced parents that may be hard. People who do not live out that situation every day will never fully understand the many challenges that come with it. But there are no qualifications on God’s command. We are to give thanks always.
Most of us will not have to look far before we find something to thank God for. But even if all else fails, we have a huge reason to be grateful to God. He gave us a priceless gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of his son. Our greatest need has been taken care of! That is definitely something to thank God for.
Are you experiencing challenges that sometimes seem to drain your joy? God has commanded us to give thanks to him. Follow his instruction and your attitude will turn around. Joy will return as you focus your attention on what he has done for you.