Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy were incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp during WW II for hiding Jews. The conditions in the camp were horrible, including an infestation of fleas in their barracks that made life close to unbearable. In spite of the conditions, Corrie, Betsy and some other women had times of Bible study and prayer together.
During one of these prayer/study times they decided to find reasons for which they could give thanks. Betsy gave thanks for the fleas! Corrie couldn’t believe for what Betsy had given thanks. Betsy said she did so because the Bible says to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and the fleas were part of their circumstances.
It turned out that the fleas were a blessing in disguise. The guards left them alone much of the time because they didn’t want to deal with the fleas!
Our lives are filled with much that we’d rather not be part of our lives. We pray to God to change things, give us things, or take away things. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that life often seems to be out of control. Where is God in all of this, we want to know.
Corrie Ten Boom discovered in the flea situation that even in the mist of that which strikes us as not at all good, that good can come from it. God had His reason for the fleas.
In spite of appearances, God’s in control of everything. Nothing happens without His action or His approval. He’s sovereign, directing everything to fulfill His purposes. Even as I write this, what I know to be the truth as expressed time and time again in the Bible, I find it a challenge to believe. Looking back on my own lifetime I find the way some things have turned out to be inexplicable, making little or no sense out of it.
What I do know is that belief in the sovereignty of God requires a significant amount of faith, faith for which we can, and should, ask for from God Himself, because we can’t conjure it up on our own. We shouldn’t expect to understand all that God is doing, particularly with the painful, nasty, bad parts of our lives. God’s ways are way beyond our understanding. The sovereignty of God is impossible to fully understand, but it must be fully embraced!
Whatever the fleas in our life might be, we need to have faith in the face of the fleas, trusting God as to what He’s doing. When we do so, such trust in the sovereign working of God makes for a soft pillow upon which to sleep!
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)