I’ve recently been re-reading the autobiographical book, The Hiding Place, by the late Dutch Christian, Corrie Ten Boom. The book tells the story of how she and her family enabled many Jews to escape the Holocaust of World War II – and of how she survived the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, which claimed the life of her sister, Betsy.


Ravensbruck’s dormitories contained high triple bunk beds, each layer a trough, filled with rancid hay. Conditions were cramped, filthy and smelly; sanitation ranged from below basic to non-existent; and the overcrowding was horrendous, with vast numbers of emaciated women vying for any available space.

In the book, Corrie recalls wondering how she and Betsy would endure such a dreadful place. Surrounded by an infestation of lice and fleas, they watched their fellow prisoners becoming sick and dying.

“We must give thanks in all circumstances,” Betsy told Corrie.

“How can we possibly ever be thankful for the lice and the fleas?” Corrie responded.

Several weeks later, a supervisor was called to their dormitory to conduct an inspection. But as soon as she realised the place was crawling with lice and fleas, she refused to cross the threshold. As a result, Corrie and Betsy were left alone to build relationships with the women in their dormitory; to pray with them; and to teach them about Jesus.

It was then when Corrie realised that Betsy was right.
She could, indeed, be thankful for the lice and the fleas.
She just had to shift her perspective.


What difficult or challenging circumstances are you facing at the moment, in which God might be asking you to give thanks? In what ways do you need to ask Him to shift your perspective?

All thoughts, as ever, would be welcome in the comments below.

Also, for a related reflection on the Holocaust, see my blog post here.

[Photo my own, taken at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland.]


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