Monday, August 21, 2006

The Thorn

2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
7To keep me 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. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

(I start the passage below from my journal of February 16th 2002 with a quote. Unfortunately I didn't make note at the time, of the book title or author; my apologies for not being able to acknowledge them.)

"Sometimes though, we are left walking with a limp. We journey into a new season, yet God leaves behind a reminder of the work He's done in us. The apostle Paul was walking with a limp or, as he described it, a "thorn in the flesh," which he pleaded to have removed (2 Cor. 12:7). But God made it clear that it was a reminder of weakness, and soon Paul himself came to see it as something that kept him from becoming proud (see 2 Cor. 12: 8 & 9)."

As I read that I thought to myself that although I have never contemplated having a tattoo, if I did, it would be of a thorn, to remind myself that I am his, and a thorn can be a gift of love when it comes from his hand. I thought of the crown of thorns that Jesus wore, pressed cruelly into his head, sharply piercing his dear brow, the blood flowing down his precious face as he gave himself up in sacrifice for our sin, our weakness - bearing the thorns for us; all of the pain, all of the agony, all of the punishment we deserve laid on him, on his dear flesh that knew no sin. How precious to my soul those familiar words, spoken by Jesus on the cross, "It is finished."

Prayer: Father, the perfection of your ways astounds me. I am overwhelmed with love and sheer adoration for you. I don't think I will ever again be able to see my weakness in the same way. Now, if you have allowed it to remain in my life it is simply to remind me of my humanity, my dependency on you - it is my thorn. But I will remember that you bore it among those other thorns on your brow. I will remember the pain you suffered and never regard that act of love with anything but sorrow for the sin that made it necessary and gratitude for the love and grace that paid the price.

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