Have you been hurt lately? Hurt by a person, relationship or situation? Hurt by being judged, misunderstood or disliked for no good reason? Hurt by illness, financial woe, or marital disharmony? Hurt by a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or by a relative or child?
Life, on earth, is filled with pockets of hurt. Wouldn’t it be good if we knew how to handle those hurts? Far too often we handle them in our own ‘way’, which is usually something we learned along life’s way…many times before we even knew Christ or were filled with His Spirit’s Power. The main thing that hurts do, besides inflicting emotional pain, is DISTRACT us from God while muddling around in the pain.
Are you Distracted with Hurt?
Life’s problems have a way of distracting us, don’t they? The pain inflicted by being hurt, rejected, misunderstood, offended, caught in the middle of relational mess, or being physically affected by illness or injury can be overwhelming. And, in the place of being overwhelmed with our justified hurt feelings we can go sideways spiritually…real fast.
While sideways we go deeper into the hole of distraction by thinking of why we should defend ourselves, mend the situation, or turn our backs on the one who has so deeply wounded us. In these stances, we often forget that God is working in us, through the hard stuff in life. Through the ugly and prickly things, the thorns, God is allowing weakness that His power might make its home in us. Without this humbling, this weakness….we are too strong in ourselves for God to get through. If you don’t believe me on this, just take a look at the Apostle Paul’s take:
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
“…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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
As you can see, this is different than our natural thinking. I don’t know about you, but when I have a thorn, I just try to pluck it out! The more it stings and pains me, the more frantic I become about getting rid of it. If this involves a relational thorn, I can get myself in trouble. My picking at it to remove it, can make it worse…and worse than that….my picking at it, could distract me from settling down and trusting God with it.
All thorns are not removed. Period. Why? There is a greater purpose. When we are weak, God’s power can be in us. I can’t say that I like that much, but I am beginning to understand it more.
The Worst Year…In a Long Time
Last year was terrible for me. I had more than one thorn, and all my trying to get either of them out…was to no avail. I had physical illness and relational drama. Yuk! The physical made me feel old and weak…and the relational left me wounded and suffering with a hangover of rejection. Yuk again! For the life of me, I could not understand either, because I was praying, more pressed into God than usual, etc….
The aftermath of both still linger with me, though for the most part both are resolved. But, I get distracted by the wounds of the thorns. Just this morning, in an Ah-Ha moment of scripture soaking….I got a clearer idea of how God uses these life thorns.
It’s not God’s plan for me to hobble along pitiful and weak, but through the pain of weakness in any form, he makes himself known to me…becomes WHAT I need to heal the hurt or pain, and draws me to himself.
In most instances he uses the pain to transform some lower thinking area in my mind and heart, into a higher thinking, biblically based viewpoint. I am realizing that without last year and it’s many thorns, I would not be where I am today. Where is that? More peace of mind, closer to Jesus, more healed of my need to be accepted or approved of, more aware of taking care of the temple that I live in each day…my body. The pain, or thorns, produced more of God’s reign in me!
What about you?
The first thing Paul did was pray for relief.
There was no relief….are you there?
The next thing he did is rest in Christ.
That is where we find rest….are you there? or are you stuck in analyzing your situation?
God’s purpose for us is no different from his purpose for Paul. He brings thorns because they weaken us, and it is only when we are weak that we will be ble to recognize, and desire the strength that we can fidn only in Christ. Thorns break us of self-sufficiency. Christ’s power is made perfect in us when we are void of our own power. Because of his pain, Paul learned the benefit of the great exchange….
“When I am weak, then I am strong”
What is your thorn today? Jesus bids us to come to Him with each one.
“Come to me…. all who are burdened” Matthew 11:28
The reason we come?
“Come to me….I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
Part of the purpose of the thorn, is to teach us to find our rest in Him alone.
May God bless you as you process the truth, and as you let God’s Spirit speak to your heart about your problems, trials, and thorns.
Living up! ( Under the promise of His love rather than under the problems)