Corrie ten Boom is best known for her book, The Hiding Place, about her time of being imprisoned in a concentration camp for helping hide Jews from the Nazis. She wrote another book that is less well known called Tramp for the Lord, about her attempts to spread Christianity behind the iron curtain. (Seems like that lady just loved to stir up trouble!) She told about a Russian woman she met during the time when Christians were being persecuted.
This old woman, Corrie wrote, was reclining on a sofa with pillows to prop her up. Multiple sclerosis had done quite a job on this woman. Her body was twisted in every direction, and she had no mobility whatsoever. Her husband spent all his time caring for her. The one part of her body that she could still control was the index finger on her right hand. That was it. But she put that one finger to good use! She would use it on a typewriter keyboard all day and late into the night, one letter at a time, translating the Bible and other Christian books into Russian. Sometimes it took her wrinkled old finger a long time to get from one key to the next, but she kept it going, typing the Bible letter by letter.
Corrie said that the first time she saw the twisted, skeletal frame on the sofa she was filled with emotion. She prayed, “Oh, Lord, why don’t you heal this poor woman?” The husband could tell that she was upset, so he said, “God has a purpose for every sickness. Every other Christian in the city is watched closely by the secret police. But because she has been so sick for so long, no one pays any attention to her. They leave us alone, and she is the only person who can translate, undetected by the police.”
So, you really couldn’t say that God has blessed the woman in spite of all her illness. It’s more accurate to say that God transformed her illness into a blessing itself!
We’re instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in every situation.” And notice that’s not the same as giving thanks for every situation. And yet, this year when you count your blessings at the Thanksgiving table or elsewhere, why not let your imagination go wild? Why not consider some parts of your life that ordinarily you wouldn’t be thankful for in a million years, and ponder a little whether God has pulled the old switcheroo on you too – maybe God has taken some of your dirty lumps of coal and made them into diamonds. It’s one of the things he’s known for.
You are blessed, and you are a blessing,