Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trying to be Thankful for the Thorns

In addition to thanking the Lord for the blessings this Thanksgiving I am convicted to try and be thankful for the thorns.

I was reading about Paul’s thorn last night, and I was struck by this --Paul said, “…to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh” 2 Corinthians 12:7.
God gave Paul a thorn. We don’t know what it is. Speculations range from an illness to a temptation to persecutions and an abundance of other ideas.  No one really knows, but Paul knew, and he asked the Lord to remove it 3 times.  However, God said, “No.”
But He just didn’t say “No,” (and He doesn’t just say "No" in our lives as well), He went on to say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  God’s answer to Paul’s request was His grace.
I don’t know for sure but I bet you have at least one if not a few thorns in your side. I do. Uninvited trials that inflict, infest and infect our lives with pain and discomfort.  Chronic issues that do not resolve – sorrows, physical pains, relationships with intractable people, disappointments, inner battles, temptations, insecurities and more.
These things that never seem to totally go away, prick and swell and get inflamed, but they are left there for a purpose, and often it is hard to understand. The answers to our hopes and prayers are not always what we hope and pray for.  God has other ideas – but they are good ideas.  Very good, for they are for our good and for His glory.
This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for all the blessings that God has given me, but I am also trying to be thankful for the thorns. I’ve stuffed the reality of my thorns for far too long, and over time, they just end up poking through and causing more problems.  I am going to choose to embrace the reality of my thorns, as a gift from God.
They keep me from exalting myself. They keep my humble.  They keep me on my knees. They keep me aware of my need of Him. They keep me sensitive to the needs of others, for as I embrace the reality of my own brokenness and the presence of God’s grace, the more I am willing to extend His grace.  They are one of the instruments that God uses to make us more like Jesus.
Is it hard for you to be thankful for the thorns? It is for me, but I am trying.  May I pray for us?
Dear Lord, Thank You for loving us enough to protect us from ourselves.  Our tendencies are to exalt ourselves and our abilities when we are to only exalt You. We want only happiness when You want so much more for us. Thank You for all that You give us, even the thorns.  Help us to realize the work that they do in our lives, through Your plan, and help us to extend grace to others, not always knowing what thorns they are dealing with.  Thank You for all You do and are.  Amen.

Blessed Thanksgiving, dear reader.


Lori Jones said...

These are good and truthful words, Andrea. Love it! Thank you!

Andrea @ Unfailingly Loved said...

Thank you, Lori. I am thankful for you!

Anonymous said...

Amen. How truly difficult it is to see the purpose of these thorns. But it's been said that God wastes nothing, so we can ask God to pour His grace over these painful thorns on our sides. Bless your heart, dear woman of God. Merry Christmas to you!

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