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Nov 22 2012

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A Story of Thanksgiving

Left to Right, Betsie and Corrie ten Boom
Betsie died in Ravensbruck’s women’s concentration camp

Many of you are acquainted with Corrie Ten Boom’s story through her book, “The Hiding Place” but for those who are not a little background.

During World War 2 Corrie’s family who were Dutch Christians hid Jews in their home and helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust. However, in 1944 Corrie and her family was arrested due to an informant. Her father died 10 days later at Scheveningen prison. A sister, brother and nephew were released, but Corrie and her sister Betsie were send to the Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp in Germany.

The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie were kept in the concentration camp were disgustingly overcrowded and flea-infested.

“The move to permanent quarters came the second week in October. We were marched, ten abreast, along the wide cinder avenue…Several times the column halted while numbers were read out–names were never used at Ravensbruck. At last Betsie’s and mine were called…We stepped out of line with a dozen or so others and stared at the long gray front of Barracks 28. “Fleas!” I cried. “Betsie, the place is swarming with them!”

They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things there were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good.

Corrie’s sister Betsie decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.

“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!

This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsie insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.

Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant that women were not assaulted. It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.

Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.

Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks.

“One evening I (Corrie)got back to the barracks late from a wood-gathering foray outside the walls. A light snow lay on the ground and it was hard to find the sticks and twigs with which a small stove was kept going in each room. Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.
You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.
You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well–I’ve found out.’ That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.
But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?

Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!

My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.”

Yes, it was because of the fleas.

Today we gives thanks as we should, tomorrow we continue the good fight, to preserve and protect our Constitutional Republic

“I do recommend and assign Thursday … next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” –George Washington, 1789

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