What do you think about when you hear the word thorn?

It sounds painful, doesn’t it?

The image that came to my head was, 4 year old me walking in a garden on a nice spring day, about 75 degrees outside. This garden is full of life with so many flowers, roses, and plants. Compelled to, I begin running through this garden in a very tight walkway laughing with my arms stretched out smacking every single plant with the tip of my fingers. Paradise: in the flesh, I call it. But as I reach the end of this walkway, I stub my finger on something that makes my little finger bleed. I stop running, look at my finger and squeeze it as I see blood come out of it. It hurts.

Thorn: a stiff, sharp-pointed, straight or curved woody projection on the stem or other part of a plant.

Why is there something so painful in such a beautiful place? Or better yet, how is there something so painful in such a beautiful place?

It doesn’t even fit in this garden; it doesn’t seem to belong in this garden.

What purpose does it serve?

Often time when we are going through life, we run into these thorns. We run into things that hurt us. We run into things that do not appeal to us. We run into things that we feel are hindering us from reaching our full potential. We come to a point where we say, “if this thorn can only be removed, I will be able to accomplish so much more”, “I won’t struggle anymore”, or even “I will be able to serve the Lord, better”. We ask this question stated above.

This morning, I was siting on my bed, thinking about my “thorns” and how much I despise them and quickly, I was interrupted by this thought: without this thorn; where does God fit in? Does he even fit in?

I want you all reading to think about your own thorns: this thorn can be a challenge in your life, this thorn can be a weakness in your life, or this thorn can be a ‘disability’ you have. And tell me, without this thorn; how would your dependency on God be?

Here is my honest answer: NON-EXISTENT.

If we had NOTHING wrong in ourselves, nothing wrong in our lives, why would we need God? It would almost make him useless. It would make me independent. It would make me arrogant. It would make me every single thing the world wants me to be...

So back to question 5: What purpose does [a thorn] serve?

Its makes even the seemingly beautiful, NEED God, to BE beautiful. I’m not sure if you guys caught that or understand that. But a much more simpler way to put it, is our thorns make us dependent on God.

Paul, the apostle had a thorn. And just like us, he prayed for this thorn to be removed. He believed the thorn impeded his ability to serve God.

[“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of 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” (II Corinthians 12: 7-8). ]

He had good intentions but still God knew that he was better off with the thorn than without it. He knew that if he removed it, Paul would not seek the Lord in anything that he did. He would surely serve but it would be by his own strength and realistically that would last but so long.

So if you really think about it even without our thorns, without our dependency on God we will NEVER reach our full potential.

When God finally responded to Paul, he responded by saying:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” – II Corinthians 12:9.

That thorn in your life that makes you turn to God every single day is NO mistake. It is nothing to be ashamed about. It has a purpose. Don't run from it, don't despise it. Don't let a little 'cut' from it discourage you. Rejoice in it. Continue to lean on God’s strength to empower you, to get you through life and let him receive the glory for doing so. There is NO thorn too big for God. Only YOU and him know what that thorn looks like. Do not let anyone get in your ear and tell you it is holding you back. If it brings you closer to God[to lean on him], embrace it. Don’t let the enemy tell you, you are weak or that you are incompetent because with GOD, you are strong, in your weaknesses. Rejoice in the fact that we have a father that paves our steps, that provides steadfast love and power no matter what comes our way. HE MAKES NO MISTAKES.

“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” – II Corinthians 12:9-10

Like the garden, you are beautiful even with a thorn.

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