I have a painting hanging in my kitchen that says: “I gave her flowers and she blames me for the thorns.” It has a picture of a man handing a bouquet to a woman. I chose this piece of artwork to remind me of my frequently wrong attitude. How often does God bless me with beautiful gifts and I choose to dwell on the “small” annoyances that accompany those gifts?
We often fail to see the big picture. We want the “flowers” in life, but we don’t want the “thorns” that come along with them. We fail to see how the thorns actually enhance the beauty of the flowers. They also serve to strengthen the plant and protect it from harm.
The same holds true for the “thorns” in our lives. Most of us have to work so very hard to get the family that we desire. Children don’t come easy for us. They only come with a lot of painful struggles. We often cannot see the beauty at the moment, but God is creating a story that is filled with His power and glory. The “thorns” are woven into this story, adding a splendor that only comes through the tenderness created from the scars they leave.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6-7
The difficulties strengthen us and teach us valuable lessons that protect us from future hurt and allow us to appreciate the true blessings in our lives.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3
As followers of Christ, we have been promised that we will have trials. Remember, don’t ask, “Why me?” Rather, ask, “Why not me?” It’s amazing how the change in perspective will change your attitude.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. I Peter 4:12-13
In looking back upon the past few years, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. I can see how God has used the loss of four babies, cancer, surgeries, financial struggles, debilitating pain, loneliness, and many other “thorns” in my life. They have served to further transform me into the image of Christ, in a way that the “flowers” alone never could have. I have learned so many amazing truths that I could never have learned any other way. I am definitely stronger. My faith is deeper. My love for God is greater. How can I wish any of that away? It definitely hasn’t been easy, but it was so worth it.
More “thorns” are coming. Of that, I am certain. However, the “flowers” that come along with them are just too beautiful to resist. I don’t just want to be willing to take the flowers, in spite of the thorns. I want to be thankful for the thorns too. May our faith be strong enough to find the blessings in the thorns.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp43p09-17-13