Gratitude in Unexpected Places

The German concentration camp was not just dirty; it was totally infested with fleas. While imprisoned, Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie clung to 1 Thessalonians 5:18, believing all things to be God’s will: “In everything give thanks.” However, the idea of gratitude in a flea-ridden place seemed far-fetched to Corrie—until she discovered why the guards avoided their barracks. They steered clear to escape the fleas, granting the prisoners freedom to worship and study the Bible! You see, even the fleas became agents of grace, something to be thankful for.

Expressing gratitude for fleas reflects a certain maturity. Believing that nothing reaches us without first getting sifted through the Father’s hands requires faith, but thanking the Lord for whatever seeps through demands a different level of trust, especially when it brings pain.

As the Thanksgiving table approaches, consider a battered relationship that may soon confront you. A once inseparable family bond now lies in tatters. Regardless of fault, are you expected to genuinely say, “Thank you, God,” for this situation? The resounding answer is yes.

Scripture’s oldest book asks, Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity? The unequivocal response is that we must accept both. Is there a brother, sister, or in-law with whom you’re at odds, someone who has deeply hurt you? Consider this your prime opportunity to start looking more like Jesus than ever before.

Reflect on 1 Peter 2:23, which portrays Jesus being abusively insulted, but not insulting in return; and “while suffering, He did not threaten, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” If you desire to mirror Christ, this is your chance. Another verse from Peter provides a roadmap: To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, and humble; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.

Just as the fleas became agents of grace, your challenging family member can be seen in a new light. Embrace Christ-likeness next Thursday to better reflect Him, even in such unexpected places.


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