Last night at Bible study, our pastor shared a brief portion from Corrie ten Boom's story, The Hiding Place. If you haven't read the book, there is a particular passage when Corrie and her sister were giving thanks for all things after reading 1 Thess 5:18. At one point, Corrie's sister begins giving thanks for the fleas that infested their barrack. Corrie didn't understand why in the world her sister was giving thanks for even the fleas. You see, they had an incredible amount of freedom in their barrack. They held worship services and were free to read their Bibles in the midst of an unimaginable situation. The Nazis would patrol every other barrack, except theirs. Because of the fleas the guards would not step foot in there.
Our pastor used this illustration to remind us to be thankful in ALL circumstances. He shared that his desire was to be thankful for even the fleas, no matter what his "fleas" might be....and encouraged us to do the same.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I want to be thankful for the fleas. I don't have fleas in my home (I'm so thankful!), but as a mom, I have lots of things to be thankful for. It's easy to give thanks for my children, and good home schooling days, well behaved children, and food on our table. But what about those other things....those fleas. Though my fleas pale in comparison to imprisonment, and watching those around you die, these are the things for which I give thanks today....
I am thankful for this messy house because it means that a family lives here and I have a roof over my head.
I am thankful for fussy babies and whiny children because they remind me that I am the blessed mommy to nine of them.
I am thankful for sleepless nights because they are often my most heart felt times of prayer with the Lord.
I am thankful for terrible home schooling days because they remind me that I cannot do anything apart from Jesus. They teach me a little more patience, and a little more grace.
I am thankful for the trail of toilet paper that runs through my school room (right now!) because...well I don't know yet, so I'll just be thankful.
I am thankful for morning sickness (no, I'm not pregnant) because it reminds me of the life growing inside.
I am thankful for my children's disobedience because it reminds me of the responsibility I have to correct and shepherd them in the ways of the Lord.
I am thankful for my special needs son, Jonathan, because he reminds me that we are all created in God's image, and that I would gladly welcome a thousand more Jonathans into my arms.
I am thankful for stomach bugs and colds because they show us the body's incredible ability to heal, by God's design. Through vomit and snotty tissues we learn compassion, servanthood, and empathy.
I am thankful for hard days, difficult circumstances, and fatigue beyond measure because they all remind me to cling to my Savior and draw me to Him in ways that only difficulties can. We learn to trust more because we see His faithfulness as he leads us through it, and He is glorified!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. James 1:2
I acknowledge that it's so easy to give thanks for even these things when we are not in the midst of experiencing them at the moment. And at times, we just don't feel very thankful. Like Corrie, we wonder why in the world we should be thankful for our circumstances. But the Bible does not command us to feel thankful. It commands us to give thanks! This is my desire! And I'm thankful for the reminder and encouragement.
..giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:20
What difficult circumstances are you thankful for today?
*This post is linked with The Marathon Mom.