Are you thankful for the thorns?
Thorns of trials. Thorns of affliction. Thorns of adversity. Thorns of grief.
All kinds of thorns.
Sticking. Pricking. Piercing thorns.
The enemy stands ready to prick us at any time with adverse circumstances.
Occasionally, God will remove those thorny situations. However, other times, He will leave them for our good, as when He left Paul’s thorn to prick him when he leaned into pride.
I wonder: do we ever thank the Lord for the thorns?
The next time a thorny ordeal is pricking you, remember the words of this prayer by George Matheson, a blind Scottish theologian and preacher in the late 1800s, who wrote the hymn O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go (and others).
My, God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked
Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for
mythorn…Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value
of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path
of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.
He thanked God for his blindness, for his ministry of thorns. Is that something we would do?
Have others thanked the Lord for their ministry of thorns?
What if blind Fannie Crosby (1820-1915) had decided to be negative about her blindness? Would she have had the same result of her ministry of thorns? The blessing of over 8000 hymns, such as To God Be the Glory and Blessed Assurance.
Dr. William Moon (1818-1894) of Brighton, England. He was also stricken with blindness at the age of 21. He prayed: “Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou mayest receive Thine own with usury.” The result of his ministry of thorns? He invented the Moon Alphabet, the first to be used for the blind.
And Paul did not complain that his “thorn” was not removed; he mastered it. He praised the Lord with his life. The result of his ministry of thorns? Equipping believers and growing the church.
Life is rife with the thorns of adversity. But are we thankful? Do we go beyond the pain to make our lives reflect the glory of the Lord? Do we have a ministry of thorns? *
What about Habakkuk’s attitude? The prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)
What did David say? “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)
Being thankful is easy when everything is hunky-dunky, but the praise that emanates from a pain-ravaged heart, pressed by a thorn, is the sweet-smelling sacrifice of holy incense that rises to the throne room and lingers at the Father’s feet.
When a thorn pierces your heart with pain, does it release songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord?
May your thorns be pricks of praise…Lynn