…Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father…Ephesians 5:20 NASB
One of my favorite books when I was young was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. That book impacted me like few others ever have. It’s been a lot of years, but I still remember the scene with Betsy telling Corrie she had to be thankful for the fleas. Corrie was indignant. She hated those pesky fleas! Why should she be thankful for them? But Betsy insisted that the Bible said she had to be thankful for all things. So, reluctantly, she and Betsy gave a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the fleas. It wasn’t until many years later that she found out from one of the former guards at the concentration camp that the main reason she and Betsy were able to hold their Bible studies without interruption was that the guards didn’t want to go in there because their barracks was infested by fleas.
I can well understand why Corrie didn’t want to be thankful for fleas. A couple of years ago my granddaughter brought a couple of flea infested cats into my house. I thought I would never get rid of those things. It was a pain in the neck. I wasn’t very thankful for them either! Do you ever wonder why a loving God would create such horrible things as fleas and mosquitoes in the first place? I think maybe it’s because He knew the end from the beginning, and He knew that a need would arise for them. Incidents like Corrie’s and Betsy’s would demand a unique answer to an unspeakable evil. He also used locusts, gnats, and mosquitoes as a plague on Egypt to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. Everything God made has a purpose. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.”
But what about the things God didn’t create? God didn’t cause my divorce. I don’t even believe He caused my daughter to die of cancer. I believe all the evil in the world caused both those things to happen. But, as Christians, we have to acknowledge that even if He didn’t cause it, He still allowed it. And if He allowed it, it has to have a purpose. It’s just like the fleas. We have to thank Him for it. It’s hard. I never wanted to be divorced. If you’d asked me a year before the separation, I’d have never believed it possible. I thought I had one of the best marriages on the planet. At the same time, if I hadn’t divorced and moved to Dacula, I wouldn’t have four published novels now, I wouldn’t be teaching my wonderful Connect Group ladies, and I wouldn’t have been able to lead several children to Christ in our VBC in each of the last few years. God always has a plan. And His plan meshes together in ways we can never begin to comprehend.
My daughter is safely in heaven. I firmly believe that. So her death hurts only those of us she left behind. It doesn’t hurt her. Her suffering was in the process of dying, not in the death itself. Every year at Thanksgiving I still celebrate her birthday and give God thanks for the years He allowed me to have with her. A friend says she celebrates her son’s death as his “graduation to heaven.” That helps her to be able to be thankful for it. Celebrating her birthday helps me.
My pastor, Rev. Kevin Miller, was out of town for Thanksgiving on Sunday, and Pastor Derek Spain preached a sermon on the ten lepers that brought Corrie’s story back to mind, so I’m especially thankful for him and for our church that faithfully teaches God’s Word today. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. God bless you all!
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: What “fleas” in your life do you have a hard time being thankful for? How is God teaching you to be thankful for them?