I recently read again one of my all time favorite books, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. This is my desert island book. You know, if anyone asks you the question “If you were stranded on a desert island what one book would you want to have with you?”. I hope it is understood that I would want the Bible with me, but in addition to that – The Hiding Place would be my choice.
For those of you that have not read it, it is a true story and takes place during the World War 2 time period in the The Netherlands. It is from the perspective of Corrie and tells of her and her family’s efforts to help Jews escape from the Germans. It also covers some of her time in Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp that her and her sister were sent to.
In addition to it being a fascinating true account of this very ordinary family doing extraordinary things, it is also a story of deep faith and trust in God.
God is their Hiding Place. In the midst of unimaginable suffering and injustice Corrie and her sister still find things to be thankful for during their time of imprisonment. It is Betsie, her sister, who leads them in this spiritual discipline of giving thanks to God.
When they arrive at Ravensbruck they discover that their section of the sleeping barracks is infested with fleas. Betsie insists they give thanks for the fleas. Corrie, understandably, has a hard time with it but goes along. It is only later in the book that we discover the reason why the guards do not come into their sleeping area – they are avoiding the fleas. This frees Corrie and her sister to have Bible studies and prayer times with the other women, something that is forbidden. Corrie then comes to understand how she too can be thankful for fleas.
It is Thanksgiving, a time to remember all that we have to be thankful for. When I read The Hiding Place I find it astonishing how much these two women found to be thankful for in the most horrid of situations. Life can be difficult in so many ways. Disappointments in love, relationships, health, careers, and finances. It is not that we are to ignore these hardships, but that in finding things to thank God for, we can raise our eyes up and still find good and joy in the midst of suffering.
All this is possible because of God. From a human standpoint it can often seem that there is no good, but there is God.
Hebrews 12:2- “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
During this Thanksgiving time I hope that is easy for you to find much to be thankful for, but if it is difficult, try to take comfort in the fact that your whole story is not written yet.
Philippians 1:6- “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”