Thankful for That?
When the devastating floods came to Mozambique last March, families were separated as they fled from the rising waters. The death toll rose as the floods receded and bodies that had been submerged were discovered. Some counts were in the thousands. One Mozambique minister named Samuel Naftal gave thanks to God and mosquitoes for saving his life. As Samuel, along with 16 other people, clung tightly to the limbs of trees for 2 days, he began to preach. All of them hoped his preaching would keep them alert to their surroundings. They listened and watched as furniture, TVs, and dead cows floated by. Then the mosquitoes began swarming around them, repeatedly biting them. Naftal testified, "I thank God for those mosquitoes because they kept me from falling asleep. If we had fallen asleep we would have been carried away by the water." He and the others hung on and were finally able to wade to safety as the waters began to recede. It's not often that we are thankful for something like mosquitoes. They've ruined a lot of fun times outside on a summer night. (We sometimes wonder if it was really necessary that they had a place on Noah's ark.) But the mosquito story reminded me of another person who was thankful for an insect. Corrie Ten Boom, the well-known Dutch watchmaker who helped to hide Jews in her house during the Holocaust in Europe, was arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp. She too found it hard to find anything good about her desperate situation. But her sister Betsie found a hidden blessing. She thanked God for the fleas that tormented them each day. Fleas? Miserable fleas? Yes. The imprisoned women discovered that the presence of the fleas kept the guards away from their barracks, allowing the women to speak freely. It was a blessing wrapped up in a hardship.