“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:28-30 ESV)…
Corrie Ten Boom lived from April 1892 – April 1983. She was a remarkable woman. She was a Dutch Christian who, along with her family helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during WWII. She and her family were imprisoned for their actions. She writes about all this in her book The Hiding Place. There she relates an incident that taught her to be thankful for things we normally would not be thankful for. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and infested with fleas. Their Scripture reading from their smuggled Bible that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. Corrie finally agreed to somehow thank God for even the fleas.
During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings in their barrack without guard interference. Several months later they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.
This is a small example of how God works everything, even the worse circumstances for the good of His people. And the good that He was working for Corrie and her sister went far beyond simply making it possible for them to hold Bible studies and prayer meetings; it’s the same great good that He works for all of His people. The great good is that in all things God is making His people more and more like Jesus; He is conforming us to the image of Christ. This means that everything we go through (even fleas), every circumstance we find ourselves in, every good time, every bad, times of joy, and times of sorrow, all things—the same basic range of good and bad things that happen to all people, plus the suffering that we must go through as Christians for following the Great Suffering Servant, King Jesus—are used by God in our hearts so we are taught, humbled, and refined into the likeness of Christ.
I am nothing; Christ is all!