In plant terminology, thorns, spines, and prickles are defined as hard, rigid extensions of leaves, roots, stems, or buds with sharp, stiff ends. In simple laymen terms, they are the stupid, pointy thingies that make our fingers bleed. These thorns have one predominant function, they serve as a physical defense for the plant, deterring animals from eating and damaging the plant material. Ugh, I’m not eating that! No sane animal is going to munch on my barberry bush. Ouch! Those painful thorns are an efficient deterrent, serving their purpose in the protection of that shrub. Just as those unforgiving thorns are essential for the plant’s existence, thorns in our lives serve their purpose-if we allow them.
Let’s review our travel through the uncomfortable world of thorns. We have been pondering Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” that unspecified gift of God given to help His servant grow and be more usable in the spread of the gospel. Paul’s thorn was difficult for him to endure, but God supplied the grace Paul needed to press on, to overcome, and to grow. And just as God supplied sufficient grace to his servant, He will do likewise for us as we deal with our own personal thorns.
But now comes the tricky, difficult part of thorns, the glory. We are told in the passage that once Paul came to the realization that his thorn would be a permanent fixture in his life, he doesn’t moan and complain, but boldly states, “I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Don’t miss that, the thorn came from Satan (but only with God’s permission), humbled the servant Paul, but ultimately glorified God. That ugly thorn was given to radiate the glory of God to all those under Paul’s influence. The thorn took the focus off of Paul, and placed it where it should be, on the glorious, sustaining power of the Savior! It is little wonder that Paul could now state with confidence, “I take PLEASURE in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Bring on the thorns, Satan, you are not the source, God is; you are merely making me lean more wholly and heavily on the One Who will make me stronger and more effective for Him. Thank you for the thorn, my Father, for it has served its purpose, it has grown me and glorified You.
Christ understands thorns well, for He bore thorns for me. His brow was brutally pierced by the thorny crown placed on His sacred head, a cruel mockery of His claim that He indeed was the King of the Jews. But Jesus endured the pain and humiliation of those thorns for “the joy set before him.” If Christ can bear thorns for me, and if effect, cause me to glorify His Father, I can, through the Spirit’s strength, bear my thorns for the Father’s glory also. Have you thanked God for the gift of the thorn in YOUR life, for the grace to bear that thorn, and for the glory that He will ultimately receive through that thorn? Take the difficult step of faith and thank your Father for that thorn that He, in His unspeakable wisdom, chose for you.
II Corinthians 12:10 …for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Thank You, Lord, for those prickly thorns in my life. When I am tempted to complain, help me to give You the glory instead. Use those thorns to draw others to You.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1442-6393e57d4932b' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1442&origin=wp.blog.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1442-6393e57d4932b' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1442-6393e57d4932b' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>