"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
If the trials of life have you scratching your head, if you are wondering, "God, where are you in this mess?" don't despair -- just read on!
Corrie ten Boom relates in The Hiding Place an incident that taught her to be thankful continually. When she and her sister, Betsy, were taken to a horribly inhumane German prison camp named Ravensbruck, they had to live in flea-infested and overcrowded barracks. The morning they arrived, they read together 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 'be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.'
Afterward, Betsy told Corrie to thank God for every aspect of their new lodgings. Corrie initially would not thank God for the fleas, but her sister persisted, and Corrie finally gave in. As the ensuing months passed, they were surprised to discover how freely they could conduct Bible studies and prayer meetings without the guards interfering. Later they found out that they could do so many things openly because the guards would not come into the barracks for fear of becoming infested with fleas. (Gregory K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 2003. Page 81.)
Jesus reminds us that every hair on our heads is numbered. In fact, he told us that God the Father even keeps track of every falling sparrow (Matthew 10:29-30). Should it surprise us then that even the fleas are under his command?
Of course it is much easier to read about Corrie's fleas than to thank God for our own. But when we give thanks, we acknowledge that God is big enough and that he cares enough and that he is wise enough to work out even the most irritating issues of life.
What has you scratching your head? Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, but you don't need to wait until then to "get your gratitude on." God is in control. He does love you. And he is working out every aspect of your life -- even the irritating ones -- for your good and his glory.
Today, thank God for the fleas!
If you would like a little more on giving thanks here are two resources:
- Giving Thanks When Life Doesn't Make Sense -- Click here to watch the message from last Sunday at SRC (scroll to minute 24 for a great video and then the message).
- The Last Job Of The Servant Leader -- Click here for three lessons on saying "Thank You" from Billy Graham.
NOTE: Don't Ask The Fish will be taking a one-week break over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Look for the fish to be swimming again on 12/4.