Thanks…for thorns


“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10

I’ve been working my way up to a post on thanks for things that we didn’t want to happen, or things that we’ve asked for and haven’t received. This morning, I listened to one of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s podcasts on gratitude that relayed a prayer that is so fitting for this discussion. Here it is:

George Matheson was a 19th-century Scottish preacher who lost his eyesight at a very early age. As he wrestled over this set of circumstances, he eventually prayed this prayer:

Dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I’ve thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear. Teach me the value of my thorns.

Oh, that we can learn what it means to offer thanks and praise to God even for the things we wish He would change, or fix, or take from us!

Are there any thorns in your life that you’ve prayed for God to take away, that you might serve Him better? Can you find some aspect of that thorn that can be used for His glory?

When I think of thorns in my own life, I rarely think of them as blessings or avenues of God’s provision. I generally view them as limitations and places where I don’t measure up. Nevertheless, thorns keep me humble where I might otherwise be proud. Thorns soften my heart in places where it would be hardened. Thorns permit me to reach the end of self and find I’m desperately lacking and in need of Him.

Perhaps in my most recent wrestling with thorns, I have discovered that true beauty of character seems to be somehow connected to the presence of thorns in our midst and the way that we choose to respond to them when faced with the reality that they won’t simply go away.

Friends, may we be found faithful with the thorns He has permitted, in His sovereignty, through His love, and for His purposes.

Here’s an excellent song for giving thanks in every set of circumstances!


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