Do any of us delight in our weaknesses and thorns?
"My God, I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensated for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory. Teach me the value of my thorn." -G. Matheson
George Matheson was a Scottish minister and hymn writer born in 1842. He was blind from his youth, so he knew about thrones. Many speculate that Paul's thorn was his eyes as well. Rev. Matheson says, "Teach me the value of my thorn." Matheson wants to value his thorn. Paul wants to delight in his. Neither of these, value or delight, are words we would associate with a thorn or weakness. But both Paul and Matheson confirm that thorns and weaknesses can be, and should be, valued and delighted in. Thorns and weaknesses add value to our story. But be thankful for them? That's tough!
I recently heard an illustration about a chocolate cake that caught my attention. Chocolate cake always catches my attention!
None of these ingredients would we want to eat by themselves. However, when a skilled baker, or even someone like you or me, mixes them all together and bakes it a beautiful thing happens. Chocolate cake happens! We may be quick to thank God for the beautiful things. We thank Him for the roses, the chocolate cake, the life that makes sense to us. But what about the things that are not so beautiful and don't make much sense? What about the thorns and the weaknesses?
"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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Have you ever considered how many thorns one rose has? Many thorns. One rose—many thorns. Like the many ingredients of a chocolate cake that we wouldn't eat alone, when combined and baked, they make a beautiful cake.
Our thorns, though they may be many, when combined with God's plan, His timing, and grace, can be a beautiful thing. And this beautiful thing can be used for our good and His glory.
Matheson wants to value his thorn. Paul wants to delight in his. Can you be thankful for yours today? Thankful for your thorns? Thankful for your weaknesses? Are you allowing them to be an avenue of God's grace in your life? Can you say like Paul, "I am content with weakness, for when I am weak, then I am strong."?
"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses... For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10
What thorns are you thankful for today, and how will you allow God to use them in your life?
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