Pop Pop Epistle #129 – About being Thankful… for Fleas

Dear Grandkids,

So this is the week that our nation sets aside for giving thanks. The origin of Thanksgiving goes back to the Pilgrims in the 17th century but it was not until 1941 that the holiday was officially declared by the president to be celebrated the 4th Thursday of November.

For those of us who are believers in Jesus and hold Scripture up as the holy Word of God, thanksgiving is supposed to be a daily practice as we recognize that the Lord is at work in ALL the details of our lives. So we give thanks when things are going well and we give thanks when things are going not so well. During these crazy COVID-19 days it would be very easy to grumble and whine but our calling is to do otherwise. Gratitude is an expression of faith and faith is the primary identifying mark of Christians.

This was a lesson that Corrie Ten Boon learned when she and her sister were enduring the insane suffering that took place in World War Two concentration camps. She relates an incident in her book The Hiding Place that is worth remembering when life is less than ideal.

She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. On entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested. That morning, their Scripture reading in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to “rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances.” Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted, and Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings. During the months spent at the camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without the guards interference. It was not until several months later that they learned the reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas.

You have often heard me say that “Reyners are not whiners” – so the next time you are tempted to whine about something just picture yourself being covered with fleas… and then give thanks that you are not.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

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