“These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
1 Peter 1:7
Corrie Ten Boom was a woman who helped countless Jews avoid capture during World War II, and is one of my personal heroes of faith. She and her family suffered unimaginable horrors during the Nazi Holocaust; the story of her faith and dependence on God during this time period has been beautifully captured in her book, The Hiding Place. Corrie Ten Boom and her family wanted to be used for the glory of God and lived their lives out asking Him to guide each decision that they made. He supernaturally opened many doors for them and honored their desire to serve Him even during this dangerous time period in history.
There is one story in particular that comes to my mind often, which reminds me that God is always orchestrating every situation that happens in our lives and will use it ultimately for His glory and our good, if we are able to trust Him.
I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone that hasn’t read it (and I really encourage you to read it if you haven’t!), but Corrie ends up in a concentration camp at one point in the story. Up until this point, we see Corrie reminding herself of God’s promises any time she faced difficult conditions, but when she enters this camp she ends up on a bed that is crawling with millions of bed bugs. She gets out of bed feeling hopeless and abandoned, but thanks the Lord for all the blessings that she has, despite the fact that she’s in a concentration camp. She is prompted to thank God for the bed bugs, but while scratching the bites on her body she says, “I CANNOT thank God for this!” I know that if I were Corrie, there’s no way that I would have been able to thank God in that circumstance either. I’ve been known to complain often about much less important issues in life (like not being able to find an article of clothing or the temperature in my house).
Corrie decided to make the best of her situation. She was in a bunker in a concentration camp facing death, surrounded by hundreds of women in the same situation who did not know God and were destined for a hopeless eternity. She prayed for opportunities to share her faith so that others would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have the hope of spending eternity with Him in heaven. Though she was starving, forced to slosh around in human waste and scabbed over by the bug bites, she was able to share her faith with the women sharing her bunk because God somehow kept the guards from entering the bunker to do evening checks. So many of them accepted the Lord and started telling others in the bunker that Corrie ended up conducting Bible studies every evening so that everyone would have a chance to hear her teach. Many of these women accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and this one simple woman was able to bring the glorious hope of the Gospel to this desolate hopeless place.
A few months later, the guards had to enter Corrie’s bunker to remove a dead body. While the guards were there, she overheard one of them saying that the reason they never entered into her bunker was because the whole place was crawling with bed bugs! Unlike many of the heroes of faith in the Bible, she was given the opportunity to see the extraordinary way God opened doors for her to share her faith with others. I’m sure that in light of eternity, the discomfort that came with being bitten by bed bugs seemed trivial compared to the salvation of hundreds of souls. Corrie was finally able to thank God for the bed bugs.
Where are you today? Do you have a bed bug-like situation going on in your life right now? Something that is so horrible that you’re sure that it can’t be used for good in your life?
“Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”
Our God is a good God, and He will never allow something to happen to you that can’t be used for His glory and for your own good. Always remember that! The Bible says that our faith is worth more than gold, and that nothing is allowed to happen to you without God allowing it.
When going through difficult circumstances, remember to:
- Have an attitude of worship. Know that you are worshiping a great and mighty God, and though you may not understand all the things that are happening in your life, you can trust Him.
- Ask God what you should be learning through the experience about Him, about yourself, and how you can minister to others through your experience.
- Have an attitude that glorifies God. Others watch us as Christians and should always see the hope that we have in Him.
If you think your specific situation can’t be used by God – you’re in good company. The Bible is full of people whose circumstances seemed unfit for God’s work, but He used them anyway. Corrie Ten Boom was an old maid who worked at a clockmaker’s shop. By determining to honor God in every situation, she ended up saving the lives of many Jews and being instrumental in spreading the Gospel to hundreds of hopeless people.
Are you willing to allow God to use your ordinary life for His extraordinary purpose?