We all have a thorn. Really, we likely have lots of different thorns all throughout our lives. Presently, my thorn is depression. You can read all about that here. Like Paul, I have prayed and prayed and prayed that this thorn would be plucked out of my life. It’s painful and uncomfortable. It makes life more difficult. I just do not like it and don’t want to deal with it.
But, God is faithful and wonderful and amazing. And He does not give us more than we can bear. While I didn’t realize I could bear something like this, He did. He knew that I could, because He would be there sustaining me and delivering me through the difficult days and months and years.
What I’ve learned from this thorn of mine is that God will use our thorns for His glory. Isn’t that what Jesus told Paul? “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God will be glorified when I am weak. His strength will shine when I am brought low. High and mighty Emily isn’t doing much for the kingdom, but broken, hurting, depleted Emily can radiate God’s strength and great love to the world around her.
I am thankful for the thorn I am experiencing now. While every moment of it hasn’t been spent in praise, it should have been. In the depths of my despair and agony, I should have been praising God that He was still there…never leaving and never forsaking. I should have been praising God that He was showing me how wonderful heaven would be — free from pain and depression and sadness and hurt. I should have been praising God that what I was dealing with was nothing in comparison to Him allowing His Son to suffer such extreme mental agony that Jesus sweat drops of blood so that I could one day live with Him forever. Every single day of the last 13+ months, I should have been praising God for the thorn. Because He is so, so good and so, so faithful.
I don’t know what you’re dealing with. Perhaps you struggle with depression or mental illness. Maybe you have a difficult family situation. Are you sick? Injured? Have you lost friends? A baby? Are you struggling with infertility? Are you struggling to want the baby you have? Struggling to find the funds to adopt? Struggling to stay motivated to live for the Lord? Dealing with racism or prejudice? Have you or your spouse lost your job? Is money tight? Did a hurricane rip through your town and strip you of most material things?
Whatever thorn you have, know this: God will be glorified in your weakness if you let Him. If you act like you’re doing it all on your own…or if you act like you’re forsaken…you’re not letting God shine. Instead, humble yourself. Be real with those around you. Proclaim God’s excellencies in the difficult moments and allow His light and love to be seen by those closest to you.
Praise God for your thorn. I know that I praise Him for mine! I don’t like it…I don’t enjoy it…but I will let Him use it to His glory. I am hurting and broken and definitely not myself, but I am sustained and loved and held in the palm of His Almighty hand. Praise be to God for the thorn in my flesh (really, in my mind)! May the peace I have be a testament to His great love and mercy toward me and toward all who love and obey Him.