“Thank you God for the Fleas”

In the weeks to come, the crowded dormitory was a blessing. The women on camp met there regularly. Scriptures were read. Hymns were sung. Betsy and Corrie couldn’t understand why guards never closed it down. One day, Betsy asked a guard to come into the hut on another matter. She refused. Why? Because the hut was riddled with fleas. What are the fleas for you? What is the thing you are desperate to get rid of?

“Betsie, how can we live in such a place?”

That was the question Corrie ten Boom asked her sister as they arrived in their dormitory at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. The moment they walked through the door their noses were overwhelmed by the stench of soiled bedding.

They climbed into a bunk bed for the two of them. It was then Corrie felt the first nip on her leg. The straw on the bed was swarming with fleas. No wonder Corrie asked how can she was meant to live in this way.

Perhaps you have asked that same question in a different form. “How can I live like this?”

Maybe the money is running out. Maybe a relationship has fallen apart. Maybe you have to care for someone in the depths of suffering. You wonder “How can I go on?”

Well let’s return to Corrie and Betsy. If they could survive Ravensbrück, maybe there’s hope for you and I too.

Betsy encouraged Corrie to open the Bible they had managed to smuggle in. You see Betsy and Corrie were Dutch Christians who had risked everything to keep Jews safe. One of the small blessings was this small Bible which they read every day.

The Bible reading for the day was from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18:

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

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