We all have our fair share of thorns in life. Even the apostle Paul who spread the news of Christ’s resurrection and the promise for a new life was literally afflicted with a thorn in his side.
Some “thorns” manifest in the form of physical or mental illnesses. Others appear when we are forced to deal with a tragic loss. A sudden diagnosis of cancer, Alzheimer’s and even autism can become our personal thorns that distract us from all that is beautiful in life.
In my garden, I don’t get “stuck” by thorns as much as I used to. I have learned to watch for them. I handle my roses with care. I now wear gloves instead of bemoaning about cuts and scratches. I can now appreciate the beauty of the flower without concern for the thorns that go with it.
At one time I focused solely on my thorns. More than a few things in life did not turn out the way I “planned.” I’m confident I dismissed some wonderful moments because I chose to fixate on my problems instead of the grace God gave me to deal with them.
I’m a bit older now and hopefully wiser. My thorns don’t occupy my mind as much. They are still there, but I enjoy life. I am practical and tackle tough situations with care, yet I do so looking up from where my help comes from.
I’ve learned to treat autism this way. I’m quick to acknowledge the gains my son has made. I choose to focus on the good things instead of being blinded by areas that need improvement or whatever “skills” society deems he may lack.
Our thorns may shift or completely change from time to time. And as much grief as some of them can bring, like Paul, God may choose not to deliver us from them.
What if our thorns keep us humble? What if our thorns teach us dependence on God? What if our thorns are necessary for our greater good?
Some would argue God would not give us the trials that cause so much pain. And I can agree with that. My argument, instead, is what if God uses our thorns, not allowing them to break us but build us into the people we were meant to be?
We may shed a bit of blood in the process.
However, Christ shed more that we can be healed from our hurts.
We may never know why some thorns are thrust upon us. But, that doesn’t matter.
Like Paul, I’ve learned God’s grace is sufficient for me.
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9