All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
– Proverbs 15:15
As people count strength, Betsie was a frail person.
Chronic illness had battered her small frame even before she was herded with the others on a train headed to a Nazi death camp. Unlike her sturdy and fiery-natured sister, Betsie ten Boom was a gentle soul. Corrie felt the constant need to guard her sister from the evil surrounding them at Ravensbruck.
As it turned out, it wasn’t really necessary. Betsie was fine.
This seemingly frail woman had a storehouse of strength that continually amazed those around her. She prayed for her captors. She thanked God for the fleas infesting their quarters because it kept others away and gave them privacy for Bible study. She laughed with the guards when they harassed her for being too weak to carry her share of the workload. She bore every cruelty with dignity.
In death she wore a smile.
Though a starving prisoner devoid of all comforts of humanity, Betsie ten Boom was a rich woman. This was not because she thought good thoughts or had a positive attitude. Betsie lived at the banquet table of Jesus.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
– Psalm 23:5
During her time at Ravensbruck, Betsie held Bible studies with her sister and invited others for community worship. She sought God and was filled by Him. She didn’t exist on yesterday’s leftovers; she dined every day on fresh inspiration from God.
Nothing about her faith was dry, stale, or moldy.
She not only had enough provision for each day, she had a storehouse of fresh provision from which to draw.
Abundant. Overflowing. Joy.
Her joy sustained her through the worst imaginable hardships and gave her the courage to laugh at her weakness in the presence of her enemies. To smile at the provision of fleas. To see the humor in the profane. To refuse to be a victim.
To trust God all the way to the grave.
Those who lean into God with this kind of trust are never the beggars, no matter what circumstances befall them. Grumbling’s not on the menu.
They live at the table of God, a feast fit for royalty.