This weekend, Barb Roose quoted Corrie ten Boom, who said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”
We can all learn from Corrie ten Boom’s life. She loved people and had compassion for those around her who were being persecuted. So much so that she put herself at risk to help them. Corrie and her family helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in their home. Eventually, the Nazis discovered the Ten Boom’s house and arrested them. Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Scheveningen prison, and then from Scheveningen to Herzogenbusch (a political concentration camp also known as Kamp Vught), and finally to the Ravensbrück concentration camp (a women’s labor camp in Germany).
We get a glimpse of how Corrie and her sister were able to live in the awful conditions at Ravensbrück through the story of a powerful conversation had by a group of women prisoners. One day, Corrie had had enough of the fleas biting her legs and said, “How can we live in such a place?” Betsie responded to her sister by sharing that God had given her the answer to her question in the Bible verse she had read that morning. Betsie’s proclamation gained the women’s attention, so they quickly took out their Bible and read from 1 Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
After reading the verse, Corrie looked around at her awful surroundings. She saw a dirty room with wooden bunk beds full of cold, hungry, and sick women. She took in the terrible smell that couldn’t be escaped, and she felt her legs full of flea bites. But then, as she thought about that verse, she started to see all that she had to be thankful for. She saw her sister, who was there with her. She thought about the fact that there wasn’t an inspection upon their arrival, making it possible to smuggle in the Bible they held in their hands. And she saw a room full of women, hearing and learning about Jesus for the first time through that Bible.
After reading this verse, Corrie’s perspective completely changed. Her focus moved from the negative things about her surroundings to the many blessings she had. This shift was the answer to her question, “How can we live in such a place?” This weekend, Barb challenged us to put on our “gratitude glasses.” She asked us to look around our world and our surroundings and to begin choosing to see all the things that we have to be grateful for.
At first, you may not see it, or you may not see much. But the longer you wear your gratitude glasses, the more things will become evident to you. You will begin to see that there is reason to rejoice, no matter the season or circumstance you find yourself in. After all, if Corrie ten Boom could rejoice and be grateful in a place like the Ravensbrück concentration camp, surely, we can find a reason to rejoice today.
Do you find yourself giving more weight to the negative experiences in your life or the positive experiences?
How can you take steps to change your perspective and put on your gratitude glasses?
List three things that happened today or yesterday that you are thankful for, and share your answers with someone.
Read more about Corrie ten Boom’s story and how she learned to be grateful for the fleas.
Fill out the Friday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.
Dear God, I have so much to be thankful for today. Because of you I have a reason to be grateful in every season and every circumstance. Forgive me for the times that I only see the negative around me, and help me to put on my gratitude glasses today so that I can see my many blessings. Father, use me to be a light and voice of thanksgiving to others so that we can rise above today’s challenges and honor you in the midst of them. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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