Weekly Blog: Roger Quick - Giving Thanks During A Pandemic
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Posted on: 18th July 2021

Giving thanks for all things, not always easy, is harder still during a pandemic.  Though the virus may – thank God – be receding here, across the world it still rages.

The great Dutch saint, Corrie ten Boom, was sent to a concentration camp during WW2 because she had sheltered Jewish refugees.

The thing above all others which sustained her and her sister was that they secretly had a bible with them, and were able to take courage from reading it.  Then they were moved into a new dormitory and were appalled to find it overrun with fleas.  But in the midst of the brutality and horror, and fleas, they got out their bible and read from St Paul: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”   And Corrie’s sister Betsie prayed, giving thanks for the dormitory; that their bible had not been discovered;  for the overcrowding: that more people might hear of the love of God through them.  Then she thanked God for the fleas. 

Corrie leaped up and said “Betsie, whatever else, I am not thanking God for the fleas!”  But Betsie said: “It says, give thanks for everything.”  And so, very unwillingly, Corrie ten Boom thanked God for the fleas. 

Betsie died in the camps, as did their much-loved father.  Corrie survived.  Years later, she met one of the prison guards.  She forgave him.  And she said to him “You know, it was having that bible that gave us hope.  It was a miracle to us, that the guards never discovered it: that you never searched our dormitory.” 

And he said to her, “I can tell you why we never searched your dormitory - it was infested with fleas.”

Give thanks for all things; even those things which seem darkest now; for even death itself is only our last and greatest healing.  

By Roger Quick Chaplain St Georges Crypt

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