Give Thanks! God is our Hiding Place!

Without depriving my children of sustenance, I often find practical ways for them to experience how blessed their lives are. Truth is, I need this as much as them, especially when my circumstances are less than desirable. So when the Covid-19 Quarantines started, perhaps going to my parents’ beach house for a week didn’t send the strongest message of suffering. To balance things out, I put us all on a diet of bread and water. Just kidding. Sometimes I want to see if anyone keeps reading.

But truthfully, I was so tired of the complaining (a lot inside my own head) that I ordered the book, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. All I knew about the story was that it was about a woman who worked to save Jewish people during World War II in Holland. (By the way, I bought the mug in the picture below in Amsterdam.) I figured, at the very least, my family would be grateful for our lives. I don’t usually use guilt and comparison to make my point, but desperate times, call for desperate measures, so I planned storytime.

With the best of intentions, I called my three kids into the living room and set about reading them the book. I wish I could say that they all listened attentively and then we had a rich discussion on the first chapter, but you wouldn’t believe me anyway. First of all, there are a lot of words and names that I cannot pronounce, so that made the reading slow, and then I wasn’t great at following through with the time. Okay, I only remembered to have our storytime when we’d had an especially whiney day with lots of bickering. However, I would not give up. Y’all know I’m nothing if not persistent, and I would persevere. This is when I ordered the audible version of the book. We listened to several chapters on a road trip, and when school started, my kids listened to the book on the way to school every morning. (I wasn’t even in the car. By the way, having a 16-year-old who can drive, by far one of the greatest things that have happened to me.) They really got into the story, begging me to let them listen when they were in the car.

I loved the day that my daughter said she believed anything was possible with God-given Corrie’s story. What a gift! We study Bible stories of people with great faith doing miraculous things with God’s help. But to read about a modern person living a faithful life, gave us all an opportunity to see and remember how God is working every day even when we don’t see Him and focus on gratitude instead of our circumstances. If the Ten Boom sisters can be thankful for fleas, we can find something to be thankful for in our lives.

While in the concentration camp, Betsy Ten Boom insisted on practicing gratitude. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Now, I know it isn’t always easy, but if Betsy Ten Boom could find something to be thankful for in a concentration camp, we should probably be able to find gratitude. I love the honesty that Corrie portrays when she admits that she did not find it as easy to be grateful, but she did it anyway. And sometimes just finding that one thing to thank God for is all we need to realize all the ways He is providing for us.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) This is what I love about God. He is unchanging. He is the same today as He was in Europe in World War II as He was in Biblical times, and while we can’t possibly comprehend why terrible, atrocious things happen in this very broken world, we can be thankful for Jesus, and then we can find other things to be thankful for.

Living a life of gratitude is a choice. We get to choose how we respond to our circumstances, and living with hearts full of gratitude, instead of bitterness and contempt, gives us the opportunity to trust God. We can release our doubts, our fears, our circumstances, and be thankful we have a faithful God who is a promise keeper.

“There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s Kingdom. I could hear [Betsy’s] soft voice saying it. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in Your will! Don’t let me go mad by poking about outside it.” Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place, page 234.

We can all chose to live in God’s will in the safety of that hiding place. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

What are you thankful for in the midst of struggles?

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