Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 5, 2017

thorns

SPECIAL NOTICE: Holy Week Reading and Article Schedule
We will be continuing the Journey onWord tradition of publishing intentional articles for every day of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Resurrection Day. Our goal has always been to help all our readers reflect on the events of the week which begins with Jesus’ celebrated arrival in Jerusalem and culminates with the redemptive work of His crucifixion and resurrection. The daily reading will depart from the normal schedule temporarily and focus on passages related to each day’s events.

If we all were to speak with complete honesty and full disclosure, there are some individuals in our lives who are thorns in our side, or pains in our neck. It’s that person who always seems to get your goat and who you find yourself going out of your way to avoid. The issue even gets thornier when that particular person is a member of your family. You repeatedly tell yourself, “I am not going to let them get to me,” but they always seem to push the right buttons. Yet, as much as we struggle with people who are thorns in our side, I believe the bigger battle is with the thorn in our flesh.

It is easy to name those who irritate us, and very easy to identify the thorns in our flesh. We may not speak often of our thorns, but I believe we all have issues that become an irritant. There is nearly universal identification among Christ-followers with Paul’s admission of his thorn. Although it is not spelled out (many believe it to be an eye ailment), we understand why Paul would plead with God for it to be removed. There are times when we would do anything for our particular thorn to be taken away. But we must conclude that God knows best, and then glory in our own weakness as Paul did.

To keep from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
II Corinthians 12:7-9

God chose to let Paul live with his thorn when He could have removed it. Satan used it to torment him. In the Father’s design for Paul, He knew a thorn was needed. He knows what you and I need as well, and evidently thorns are part of His oversight. Satan wants to torment us, but God’s grace is as sufficient in our lives as it was in the life of Paul. No matter what thorn you continually battle, there is grace for the moment, and the power of Christ is available.

Today you may be struggling with a thorn in your flesh. You may even be a bit weary on the journey. Do not lose heart, my friend, grace is available. Paul embraced his weaknesses and has been used for centuries to encourage those with thorns. In conclusion to my challenge, please meditate on the passage noted above in the words of The Message …

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness …

Enough said!


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