Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Devotional by Laura Thomas on the blessings of inconvenience

The Beauty of Thorns
A devotional by Laura Thomas

“The enemy would have us so blinded by the pain of the thorn that we can’t see the beauty of the rose garden.” ~Ruth Chou Simons

Have you ever picked a rose and been unexpectedly pricked by a whacking great thorn on the stem? I have. Multiple times. You’d think I would know better, but still, I go back to my rosebush enraptured by the beauty of the flower, only to be jolted by that painful little thorn again.

In the big scheme of things, having one’s finger punctured by a thorn is not exactly disastrous, but “thorns in our flesh” can take many forms. The Apostle Paul spoke of his particular thorn and there are many opinions as to whether it was anything from malaria to poor eyesight to epilepsy—regardless, it was a huge issue to Paul as he called it a “messenger of Satan”. Why did God allow him to endure this wretched inconvenience? Why does God allow us to have our own thorns marring the beautiful rose garden of our lives?

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 
~2 Corinthians 12:9a (The Message)

These thorns, these pesky pressures, pain, and problems that simply won’t go away, won’t budge they are so deeply embedded, these thorns are there for a reason. That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially if it causes debilitating results or a stressful existence. For some, it’s a slight annoyance but for others it’s major, and I don’t want to belittle that. It’s HARD. And yet…

When life is peachy and everything is going perfectly without a hint of anxiety or grief, pain or distress, do we still come to God on our knees desperate for His touch? When every day is gloriously easy-breezy and finances and health are in tip-top condition, do we rely wholly on God for our daily bread and every breath? Surely, we are in danger of becoming totally self-sufficient and even a little self-absorbed.

Oh, how the tide turns when we are in thorny peril! Suddenly we find ourselves praying more, feverishly searching the Scriptures for a word of hope, reaching out to our Heavenly Father because we admit that we NEED Him.

Yes, I’m needy. Are you? It’s okay. Actually, that’s a good thing.

Because of our weaknesses, our thorns, we are able to acknowledge our need for Jesus. This need runs deep and it’s necessary for our growth in Him. It’s our weakness that grows our faith immeasurably because only His grace is enough.

That’s it. His grace at work in our lives. When everything is hunky-dory and plain-sailing, we go on our merry way perhaps with an occasional nod and wave in God’s direction. But that’s not growth or faith or hope or trust. When I lay everything, even my thorns at the feet of Jesus and cry out for help:

“I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
~2 Corinthians 10:12b (The Message)

That’s why we have our thorny issues, it’s actually for our good and so that somehow in some way God can be glorified. I cringe when I say that because it may not feel particularly “good” at the time, but I’ve seen lives utterly transformed by thorns. And sometimes we forget that Jesus is an expert on pain. There is no thorn that he does not comprehend— He has complete empathy.

On the cross, wearing that mocking crown fashioned with the sharpest of thorns, he endured every pain and ever sorrow for us.

He knows pain, friend. And he offers grace to us, that we might find our strength in Him alone. We NEED Him. And by His grace, we are not blinded or distracted by the pain of the thorns— but rather, we look ahead and see the beauty of the rose garden of eternity that is to come.

Author Bio:

Laura is a published Christian author with a heart for inspiring and encouraging readers of all ages. 

She is truly multi-genre—with a published Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, children’s stories, devotionals for Union Gospel Press, musings on her blog, and she now has a literary agent representing her Christian romantic suspense novel. 

Laura is English and Canadian, married to her high school sweetheart, mom of three, passionate about faith and family…and chocolate!

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