Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘Corrie ten Boom’

Thank God for the Fleas

When my parents were World War II refugees, they lived in various Displaced Persons camps run by the U.S. and other Allies. Sometimes it would be so cold that there was frost on the INSIDE walls of their “accommodations”.   (I don’t know exactly what their living quarters were like,)  At some point in there, my older brother (a baby!), one paternal uncle, and my paternal grandmother also lived in the same camp(s). At least they had shelter!  Traumatic as it all was, thank you Allies (and, ultimately, God), for keeping my family alive!  Others, as you know, suffered considerably more: in concentration camps, in battles on land, sea, and sky, and elsewhere.

LIFE IS A GIFT! And, I’m so grateful to live in a home with heat and hot water.

Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during World War II, because her family had hidden Jews in their home.  She decided to take seriously the Scripture, “… give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so she gave thanks for the fleas in her barracks.  Sooner or later, she learned that the guards would avoid her barracks as much as possible, because of the fleas.  In that way they did not get as much abuse as they might have.  Perhaps most of us are not as faith-filled as Corrie ten Boom, but there is certainly a lesson to learn from her.

War is probably horrific for everyone touched by it, but perhaps it’s appropriate to also remember the positives.

Why do some (or perhaps all of us) encounter great trials and tribulations?  I propose a few reasons here, several or all of which could occur together:

  1. We are being tested by God.  It can be an opportunity for growth, to trust in Him more.
  2. We are being chastised by God.  ” … for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6).  This is a good thing, because it shows that God loves us enough to correct us.
  3. We are suffering for our own or other people’s poor choices.  We make bad decisions, or others take out their frustrations on us.
  4. It’s just part of the fallen human condition.  Because of original sin, we all suffer consequences such as illness, accidents, death, etc.

No matter the reason, we must trust that God is with us through these difficulties.  I don’t see any other reason to hope.

 

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Month

This is the last day of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Below are a few of my posts related to mental health, from Facebook.


5/18/2019:

In one town in recent travels, we saw a disturbing sight while sitting at an outdoor cafe. We had a party of about 14 people.

While eating, a man approached who was either mentally unbalanced or high on something, or both. There was a low metal fence between us and him, and he stood across from one of the tables and just stared at us. His pants were sunk too low, to put it kindly. Eventually I approached him with a gift card to a restaurant and said, “Could you use this?” He answered, I’m afraid of that,” but accepted it.

My daughter says that, working with homeless ministries, they don’t necessarily try to converse with such people, but would definitely give them food or clothes, etc., if wanted.

People like this used to be “institutionalized”, sometimes perhaps against their will. What are people’s thoughts on how to help them, if they can be helped?

I told this story to a mental health professional, and he surmised that the man suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Imagine being afraid to ask people for what you need! Pray for the mentally ill!


5/24/2019:

[I recommend reading] the [book] “The Hiding Place”, by and about Corrie ten Boom. After WWII, she was able to forgive a Nazi officer (face to face) who had mistreated her in a concentration camp. That was through God’s grace, because her human emotions rebelled against forgiving him. But God gave her the power to forgive the man.  (Apparently he was repentant as well, though it’s not clear in the story.)


5/29/2019

I read somewhere, something to the effect that believing one cannot be forgiven by God or others, or being unable to forgive, can be a big factor in mental illness. Makes sense; I think I would go mad if I believed I [couldn’t] be forgiven.

Spiritually speaking, when we receive the grace of forgiveness from God, we won’t be so tied to those people who won’t forgive us, seeking their approval.  [And, when we forgive, we are freed from the same unhealthy “attachments”.]

[A book by a “forgiveness therapist:]
The Forgiving Life


Besides the Facebook posts, here is an article about forgiveness, which mentions forgiveness “expert” Everett Worthington:
Setting Captives Free: Forgiveness and Freedom

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