Betsie and the Fleas

by | Feb 11, 2019 | 2019, Musings | 0 comments

Recently, I was teaching some students about Corrie Ten Boom (the Dutch woman who survived the concentration camp at Ravensbruck and had an amazing ministry afterwards). While researching some details, I came across a neat story about Corrie and her sister, Betsie. It is called “Betsie and the Fleas.”

Let me share it with you…

“We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw. Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg. Fleas! I cried, Betsie, the place is swarming with them. Here and here is another one.

How can we live in such a place?”

Betsie began to lead her in prayer. She asked the Lord, “Show us, show us how to live in this place.” And then they remembered their scripture reading from earlier in the day. “Rejoice always and pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”

Betsie kept going, “That’s it, Corrie. That is his answer. Let’s give thanks in all circumstances. We can start right now.” And they did. They thanked the Lord that they were at least together in that horrible camp. They thanked Him that they still had their Bible. But Corrie just couldn’t bring herself to thank the Lord for the fleas.

As the weeks went by, the girls met in the barracks and began to hold a worship service. Soon it grew to the place where they had to hold two services in order to accommodate all the women who wanted to come.

One afternoon, there was a conflict in the barracks and they asked the guards to come in and settle it. But those guards would not step through the door, and Betsie immediately recognized why and couldn’t wait to share it with Corrie.

“They won’t step through the door, and you know why! It is because of the fleas. Our barracks is crawling with fleas.” And because of those dumb fleas, Corrie and Betsie were able to hold those services and openly serve those women in the name of Jesus.

Corrie learned an extremely valuable lesson. She learned to give thanks in all circumstances, even for the fleas.

This week is a great time for you and I to note her example and put into practice that simple act of prayer. It is a simple prayer, but so hard to embrace that attitude.

But regardless of our circumstances, and no matter how difficult it may be, let’s purpose to trust Him. Thank Him for everything (even the fleas!).


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