Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write for the BIOGRAPHICAL Genre (12/04/14)
- TITLE: Thank God for Fleas
By Lois Farrow
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“Lord, you have promised not to give us more than we can bear,” Corrie ten Boom cried as she and her older sister, Betsie, got hustled and jostled through the camp and into their new barracks.
Their crime, along with their 82-yr-old, watchmaker father, was to hide Jews in their attic and secret cupboards. Their well-practiced routine whenever an unexpected knock came on the door saw a chaotic table for ten or more transformed into a tidy, sedate dining room with three diners in three minutes flat. Each person knew their role and many folks were sheltered and protected as the Nazi threat drew more and more vicious.
Until they were betrayed!
Mr. ten Boom and his daughters were arrested and thrown into prison. A few weeks later, their father was dead.
Betsie and Corrie endured the full horrors of successive concentration camps, determined to see Jesus even in the worst circumstances imaginable. One morning as the crowd of shivering women stood naked in front of leering guards, a new thought struck Corrie. She leaned forward.
“Betsie, they took HIS clothes too.”
“O Corrie; and I never thanked Him!”
Now they were at Ravensbruck being shoved into new barracks and trying to find a place before the other women, out on work duty, returned. Corrie and Betsie found a place together, struggling against nausea caused by the reeking straw. Corrie felt something pinching her leg.
“Fleas!” she cried, “this place is swarming with them! How can we live in such a place? How?”
“Lord, show us how,” Betsie was praying. “That’s it,” she said suddenly. “Remember our reading this morning, ‘give thanks in all circumstances’. That’s what we can do.”
Corrie looked around the dark, foul room. She couldn’t see anything to be thankful for.
“What’s that in your hand?”
“O yes, thank you Lord that there was no inspection when we came here, and we still have our Bible in our hands.”
“Thank you, Lord that we are here together. Thank you for the crowding so more people can hear your word.” Betsie was getting into it. “Thank you Lord for the fleas and for …”
“No way am I going to be thankful for fleas,” said Corrie. She had to draw the line somewhere.
The weeks dragged on but they found their evenings filled with praise and prayer, despite their filthy, over-crowded surroundings. Some women mocked and jeered, some were so exhausted after their hard day’s work they fell into instant sleep. But many drew close and were hungry for God’s word. Surprisingly, the guards never bothered them.
Several weeks later Betsie spent time in hospital. Even when she was ill and very weak she looked forward to the day when they would be released.
“We must go everywhere,” she told Corrie, visualising the future. “We must tell people that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us, because we were here.”
When she returned to the barracks she had news for Corrie.
“You know we wondered why the guards never came,” she said. “I overheard them talking in the hospital. They wouldn’t come near our barracks because of the fleas!”
Corrie looked astonished. “Thank you, Lord, for the fleas!” she said, finally. Suddenly she laughed. “I never thought I would say that! We had that amazing freedom to share with these desperate women because God knew their need and even sent the fleas!”
Source: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill).
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