Sunday, April 22, 2007

Todays' Sermon

Today's sermon was about Paul and the thorn in the flesh and about how he prayed for God to remove it from his life, because it was an annoyance to him--a hindrance, a pain in the behind, if you will. What was God's answer? 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But 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. 10That 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.

Sometimes it feels our prayers are ineffective. Sometimes we just want to run away from it all, get away from whatever it is that is pricking us in the side, annoying us, or just plain causing us pain. We don't understand why God won't just intervene and remove the splinter, the thorn, the cause of our suffering. What did God tell Paul? My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. You see, as Christians, we have a beautiful rose garden at our disposal...this wonderful life he has given us. But it is not without thorns. What are the purpose of a rose's thorns then, you may wonder?

According to Wikipedia, they are actually spines. "Spines are the ends of branches or leafs, that have been modified into rounded, hard structures with sharp ends. They are often also called thorns, which are reduced, sharp pointed stems. Spines are used by plants to protect themselves from herbivores. Some plants with spines and animals that feed on them, have co-evolved in response to each other, with some plants having very long spines and the animals that feed on those species having long tongues to reach past the spines to feed on the leaves."

They are for protection to the rose. Now if we follow the analogy of the rose garden being the life Christ has given us, then the thorns are there to protect that life...and we should carefully guard that life from being crushed or damaged, as it is very fragile...but beautiful, fragrant, and perfect. The thorns that prick us are there to remind us that it is precious. They are there to help shape our actions, to remind us that the stem that has all the spiny thorns is a support for the beautiful bloom that follows. From this spiny stem emerges something due time. If we allow his Grace to have its perfect work in us.

So instead of praying to have those removed, perhaps we should spend our time thanking him that he cares enough not to. Reminds me of that saying, "Tough Love." Sometimes God's "tough love" is painful. Sometimes we think we can't endure. But we can be overcomers. We can come out on the other side with something precious and sweet smelling to God. Truly His grace is sufficient.


Kathleen Marie said...

Amen and amen. Thank you!

Sista Cala said...

I think it is interesting that the thorn was only in the flesh. Reading in context, Paul's spirit was intact and undamaged by the thorn. When we have thorns, we must be like Paul and rely on God's grace to elevate our spirit the more.