Monday, August 27, 2007

My all

There was a scene in the movie Ushpizin that keeps replaying in my mind. The shot is of the wife, Malli, and she is sitting on the balcony of her apartment. She is talking out loud, lovingly, saying things like " My beloved", "You are so wonderful", and "I will do anything for you". It is apparent she is talking to a lover, it must be her husband. Yet, she ends it all, with joy on her face: "my God".

I was intrigued by this intimate moment had with the same God I worship. The words and image have been speaking to me all day. Do I speak to my God this way? Do I treat Him as my beloved, as He treats me? Would I do anything for Him?

Last week I read a a post from Ann Kroeker which reminded me of the story of Corrie ten Boom. Ann writes:

Today I recalled that part of The Hiding Place when Christians sisters Betsie and Corrie were assigned to Barracks 28 of Ravensbruck. They smuggled a Bible in with them, and eventually began to open it up to share with their fellow prisoners, who crowded around them as they read it aloud, clinging to its promises.

Betsie urged Corrie to give thanks in all circumstances–Betsie insisted that Corrie give thanks for the filthy facilities, soiled bedding, claustrophobic spaces stacked with piers for beds stacked three high, and the fleas. Oh yes, the place was teeming with fleas.

She excitedly invited Corrie to join her in thanking God for every single thing in their miserable new barracks.

Corrie was doubtful.

Then Betsie pointed out a few obvious things: being assigned together, the Bible they were able to smuggle in. Corrie agreed and then chimed in with thanks for the fact that there was no inspection when they entered.

Betsie added that they should be thankful that they were packed so close–so that more would hear! She prodded Corrie to pray that, too, so she did.

Then Betsie brought up the fleas. To give thanks for the fleas.

But Corrie’d had enough. There was no way even God could make her grateful for a flea.

Betsy reminded, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” not only in pleasant circumstances. She wanted Corrie to give thanks for everything that was part of the place where God had put them. So she stood there in the filth with her sister, and they gave thanks for the fleas.

They invited all the women crammed into that dormitory to join them for worship. They sang hymns and read Scripture, translating into the various languages represented in the room. They were bold. They preached and prayed and worshiped. In spite of almost constant surveillance everywhere else in the barracks, the dormitory was virtually ignored. They were barely supervised, if at all. They couldn’t understand it, but they certainly took advantage of that rare freedom.

Then, much later, Betsie was working in the dormitory knitting alongside some others who were too weak for the hard outside labor, and they called for a supervisor to settle some confusion about their assignment. The supervisor came, but wouldn’t set foot in the room.

It was the fleas. The supervisor said that the place was crawling with fleas and refused to enter.

I started thinking of all the things I've been complaining about recently. Things I've been whining at God about, things I've been demanding Him to do, you know, 'cause I know best.

And I remembered His word says to be thankful in all circumstances...yes, all circumstances. I prayed for a better perspective, 'cause I do want to give Him my all. He's got it all, anyway.

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
~Psalm 63:1


Amy Jane said...

Reminds me of recently, when I shifted my focus from gritting my teeth through my strong-willed child's behavior, to thanking God for it, and praying He would mold it into a fearless guide for her youth that will keep her from being swept away by her peers.

It also brought focus to my prayers for her more compliant sister, that she would grow in strength.

Things I'd never thought of praying some months ago.

God is so faithful, in all things.

laura said...

thank you for the post- i usually read your blog everyday, but i have a brand-new baby home from the NICU and time has been limited. this post, however, i needed today- God knew that and directed me here. thank you for being so faithful to write what the Lord is speaking to you about. You have blessed my day and given me another reason to be thankful for the lack of sleep i am getting!

Beck said...

This post was so powerful and so beautiful. I am so challenged by the idea of such faithful trust in God!

Joel and Jaime said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. Reading about Corrie ten Boom always makes my own 'sufferings' seem what they really are--nothing! I'll have to check out the Ushpizin movie too.

Jerusha said...

I check your blog from time to time and really appreciate your love for the Lord and your perspective on mothering. I especially loved your post about when you became a mom

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Okay, I need this. We are just now recovering from a flea issue with our little pooch, and I must say, I have not been very thankful. ARGGH! Betsie must have been an incredible woman - but I always liked Corrie because I could identify with her - a bit pessimistic, a bit of a doubter. But God chose to use her anyway. That encourages me.

Brenda said...

Wow that was a powerful post. It has been YEARS since I've read "The Hiding Place." That was a really good reminder about giving thanks in ALL circumstances. I have not been doing that. Thank you.

Sheila said...

Thank you *so* much for this post. I was just whining to God about something that I've had to deal with for a long time - my son's potty issues. Maybe there will be a silver lining someday. He turned 4 today so I'm pretty discouraged.