The rose has many thorns.
To pluck the flower, you must bear the thorns,
But the rose is more lovely and more to be desired
For the thorns which grow upon it.
-Poetry by a 12-year-old me.
The pastor today was talking about thorns of the flesh, and I could relate – big time. I was immediately convicted about my attitude. Sure I try to stay positive and keep trying to improve, I continue to go to therapy and try every new thing I can to change my situation, but what if this is it? What if I have gone as far as I can go? What if this thorn in my flesh will continue to be one for the rest of my life? That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying to fix what’s broken, but… maybe… this thorn is there for a reason.
To be brutally honest – I was proud of my intelligence, my ability to speak and write, the way I could seamlessly navigate history, science, math, current events, politics and present them all in lessons for my class like neatly compiled goody bags of information tied up with a string. I am anxious now when I speak to people, I am never sure when my brain stamina will give out or if I will become distracted and all my words will come spilling out like some horrible game of Don’t Tip The Waiter.
I still struggle for words, get lost in my thinking, forget where I was going, or what I wanted to say or do. I continue to substitute nonsense for clarity or fight to keep up in conversation. I’m slower, less articulate, self-conscious. As you know, it’s only when I can sit quietly and think in my own unchangeable home that I can express myself as I do in my blog. And that’s not even the case all the time. I’ve been having a challenging time this last month and have missed my own self imposed deadlines for posting, dropped down to one post a week, and struggled for content. My brain has been overloaded, stressed, taxed, tired, and totally unable to keep up. I’m even falling asleep writing this. This thorn is pricking my butt!
Perhaps, that’s the point. (Groan – yes – that was intentional.)
My weakness only illustrates His strength. Far too often, I relied on my own intellect to get me out of trouble, figure out a strategy, or solve my problems. Far too often, I’ve relied on my own strength to survive. Now, I am not strong. My weakness humbles me daily. My weakness forces me to put my faith and trust in Him. My weakness inspires me to boast about the amazing, spectacular ways He has provided for my family and me during this time. So in my weakness – I can rest in His strength and turn my testimony into a host of roses.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Thorn in the Flesh
7 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 [a]buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 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.