Ever experienced a situation or temptation that felt like a thorn in your life? Paul did. He wrote: ‘To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh.’ He doesn’t say what his ‘thorn’ was. Perhaps that’s so we can all relate to him. If he told us the specific issue, many of us might not take notice of the verses. But by keeping it general, it reminds us that we’ll all face struggles. We won’t all have the same kind of thorns. Our thorns could be about things such as health, work, relationships, or temptations. They can be painful and we can find ourselves asking God to remove them from us. Paul asked God to remove the thorn on a number of occasions: ‘Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away’ (2 Corinthians 12:8 NLT). But He didn’t. Paul knew it wasn’t because he was unloved or because God wasn’t wholly good. He said: ‘To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh.’ When life is going well, we can become more independent. We think we don’t need God and can move away from Him. By allowing us to have ‘thorns’ in our lives, He reminds us that we need to stay completely dependent on Him. Thorns can actually draw us closer to God rather than separate us from Him. God can use anything for our good and His glory. In His wisdom and patience, He permits something we think is intended to hurt us, but He turns it around and uses it to help us.
Draw a rose, and include thorns on the stem. On each thorn, write a ‘thorn’ you feel you have in your life right now.
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