Though the fig trees do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17 NIV
Again. God help us; it’s happened again. This time it was a congregation of people worshipping God in a quiet little town in Texas. We are suffering from a virtual epidemic of homicidal mania.
So much for the nice little Thanksgiving piece I’d planned to write. Now is the time for us to rise in radical thanksgiving.
It’s an old story from another dark time, but worth recounting.
World War II. Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie had been arrested by the Nazis for harboring Jews and sent to a concentration camp. Faithful Christians, they continued to read their Bible and pray.
Betsie told Corrie one day she was impressed to “give thanks in everything” as Paul wrote (1 Thessalonians 5:18), saying “..this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Corrie looked around her at the filthy barracks filled with starving women shivering in their thin prison dresses. Be thankful…for this?
But they obeyed—glad that they were alive and together, they still had their precious Bible and so forth. Then Betsie mentioned the fleas that infested floors, the walls, the foul straw they slept on every night.
Corrie recoiled. As fastidious Dutch women, they’d found the fleas appalling.
During all this time, they were conducting Bible studies every evening, ministering faith to these poor women who were dying daily, wondering why the Nazi guards continued to leave them alone.
Then they discovered– it was the fleas! The guards avoided their barracks, not out of some sort of kindness, but because, fastidious Germans themselves, they didn’t want to deal with the fleas.
God could use even fleas to reach suffering people in a desperate place. He brought good out of that unspeakable evil.
And somehow, His power was released when the sisters gave thanks.
We live in a “world with devils filled,” as Martin Luther put it. The Evil One will have his moments of victory.
But, like Corrie and Betsie in the concentration camp, like the ancient Jews looking out on a world of famine, our faith tells us we can rejoice and be thankful, anyway. For we know our God has the Final Word…
And that Word is good.
LORD GOD: Help us rejoice in You…no matter how bad things look. Amen