Thank you God for the fleas…

I wanted to share this dialogue between Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, after arriving at the barracks of the Ravensbruck extermination camp in Germany during WWII: (Taken from: “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom… Thank you, Laura, for the comment that inspired me to read this book!)

“Oh yes: ‘… to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus-‘”

“That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks.” …….

“Thank You,” Betsie went on serenely, “for the fleas and for–“

 The fleas! This was too much. “Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.”

“Give thanks in all circumstances,” she quoted. “It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas area part of this place where God has put us.”

(And as you read on further in the book, you come to learn that Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were able to hold massive Bible studies in the sleeping quarters of their barracks without being discovered because the guards were too afraid of the fleas to enter. The fleas were what God used to allow the gospel of eternal hope to reach hundreds of women, many of whom lost their lives shortly thereafter.)

I doubt that any of us reading here are in the dire circumstances that Corrie and Betsie found themselves in, but we each certainly have our own very real and very difficult trials that threaten to steal our joy, sap our strength, and cause us to grumble. Sometimes, like for Corrie and Betsie, it is the hard realities of the places that we live that weigh us down and tempt us toward bitterness.

I write this for myself after getting unusually angry a few moments ago after scalding my hand as  boiling hot water, for the 5 millionth time, came pouring unexpectedly out of my faucet while doing the dishes.  Though this is not nearly as terrible as sleeping in flea-infested straw, it was one of those moments when I just wanted to get angry at the entire country of Russia. Thankful that I just finished reading “The Hiding Place,” and praising God for the perspective, I am choosing to repent of that anger and thank God tonight even for the water that scalds my hands at random.

Will you join me in thanking God for the hard things today, no matter how big or small? What is one hard thing that you want to thank God for in faith today? Let’s pray for one another that God would help us to thank Him even for these things.

(Post by: Ashley)

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7 Responses to “Thank you God for the fleas…”


  1. 1 Kara Coe February 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Amen, Ashley! My new (sincere!) thanksgiving this year is that I’m thankful to live in a place where I actually appreciate the sun. Or even a ray of sunlight visible on a cloud somewhere!

    By faith, I am thankful for hard times at school which are (hopefully!) developing my children’s characters.

    And I am so thankful for you, which doesn’t take any faith at all. I enjoy you, and can’t believe that I get to meet the famous blogger for coffee in person occasionally!

  2. 2 jolenesloan February 13, 2012 at 7:10 am

    One of my favorite books of all time, and that is my favorite part of the book! Thanks for the reminder, Ashley.

  3. 3 Ashley L. February 13, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I’m continuing to pray for the school situation, Kara! I’m sorry to hear that things are continuing to be difficult. I’m so thankful for you too and can’t wait until the next time we get to have coffee together. And, your “famous blogger” comment cracks me up. I couldn’t be much farther from being famous, but my hope is that God receives more praise a result of even this small effort.

  4. 4 Ashley L. February 13, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Yes, such a great book, isn’t it? I had thought it was a friend here who had inspired me to read this book (by sharing this very portion of the book!) and finally remembered today that it was Laura from Pruning Princesses (her blog is in the blog roll) who shared a comment here awhile back about it. Thank you, Laura for sharing that comment and for inspiring me! It was such a great book for me to read and God is really using it in my life right now!

  5. 5 Laura at Pruning Princesses February 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Oh my gosh. I am so excited you read the book. I read it as a teenager and since rereading so many things in that book inspire me to stay focused on the Lord. And sometimes it is fun to know someone is reading your comments! Thank you.

  6. 6 Michelle February 15, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Thank you for this timely reminder…I just read another blog post right before this about being thankful for the hard things…after a “hard” day, I know it was something I needed to hear!

  7. 7 Shilo February 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    What a timeless post. Thanks for sharing, Ashley. I’ll be thinking about “counting it all joy when I encounter “fleas” of many kinds” today! :)


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