Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grateful Comments

I've been experiencing technical difficulty posting comments on my own blog.  When people post a comment I like to reply to it but haven't been able to convince the blogger network to allow me that privilege.  I'm getting feedback that I'm not the only one denied such access.

So I'm creating a "comments" post. 

Here's one for my latest post, "Heart Without Words" dated 10/30/11:

"oh my goodness, I don't know where you find these stories, both the intro and the "aftro", but they are always amazing. And this one was just what I needed to hear today. Gandhi's quote is one to live by for sure . . . thank you . . . . [vg]"

And here's another comment for "Renewal" posted 6/24/11:

"So beautiful. Thank you, THANK YOU, for sharing. You will never know how much I appreciate your wisdom and choice to have a cheerful disposition.

love you dearly,

Thanks, vg, for the comments and for going above and beyond to send them to me even when the blogger wouldn't let you post them. 
I've also had several friends tell me in person how much they appreciate my blog entries.  Thanks for your expressions of gratitude.  You mean a great deal to me. 

And here's me wishing the world a joyful Thanksgiving, because the act of giving thanks creates joy in our lives.

Betsie ten Boom
1885 - 1944

Betsie and Corrie were sisters who braved doing the right thing even when it meant risking their very lives.  They hid Jews in their home to protect them from being sent to Nazi concentration camps.  In a twist of fate, the Jews they hid were protected by their home's perfect hiding place, while they were captured and sent to a work camp. 

Their story is powerfully told in The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.  Here's just one snippet I want to share. 

Upon arriving at Ravensbruck, they were assigned to quarters that were swarming with fleas.  Now quoting from The Hiding Place:

“‘Betsie,’ [Corrie wailed,] ‘how can we live in such a place!’
‘Show us.  Show us how.’  It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying.  More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
‘Corrie!’ she said excitedly. ‘He’s given us the answer!  Before we asked, as He always does!  In the Bible this morning.  Where was it?  Read that part again!’
                "I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch.  ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said . . . ‘Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus—’
                ‘That’s it, Corrie!  That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!”  That’s what we can do.  We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’
                "I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
                ‘Such as?’ I said.
                ‘Such as being assigned here together.’
                "I bit my lip.  ‘Oh yes. Lord Jesus!’ . . .
                ‘Yes,’ said Betsie.  ‘Thank You for the very crowding here.  Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!’ She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded.
                ‘Oh, all right.  Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds.’
                ‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for—‘
                "The fleas! This was too much.  ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’
                ‘Give thanks in all circumstance,’ she quoted.  ‘it doesn’t say, “in pleasant circumstances.”  Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.’
                "And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas.  But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”
                Weeks passed and the sisters held Bible study and prayer services with the women in their barracks. Corrie described these meetings as “little previews of heaven . . . and I would know again that in darkness God’s truth shines most clear.”
                At first they held their services in secret, fearful that the guards would find them around the Bible and confiscate it.  Even after their gathering grew so large that they had to divide it into two sessions, and despite the heavy surveillance throughout the camp, the guards left their barracks unsupervised. 
                Corrie continues with her story:
                “One evening I got back to the barracks late. . . . Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together.  Her eyes were twinkling.
                ‘Your’e looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.
                ‘You know we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well—I’ve found out.’ That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.
                ‘But she wouldn’t.  She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards.  And you know why?’  Bestsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas!  That’s what she said, ’That place is crawling with fleas!’
                "My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place.  I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.”

                Not long after this Betsie became mortally ill.  One of her last messages to Corrie was:

                ‘. . . tell people what we have learned here.  We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.  They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.’
                Thank you Betsie.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, pp. 197 - 202, 209, 217.  Bantam Books
Betsie ten Boom, Wikipedia

Betsie ten Boom