1 thistleThey appeared in Eden … results of the curse of the ground pronounced by The Almighty. He delivered them along with painful, lifelong toil. I’ve got some. Bet you do too.

They were first called thorns and thistles, illustrated by the field variety. They interfered with the normal activities and flow of life.

Later the labels barbs and thorns were applied to the inhabitants the chosen people allowed to remain in the land though The Almighty told them to drive them out. They brought trouble.

4 spikethorn in his flesh is how Paul describes his encounter with them. It was serious enough that he offered a triple-plea to The Almighty for relief.

Paul’s challenge has been identified as a vision problem, but experts disagree. It could easily have been the isolation of prison or the stresses of ministry.

Whatever it was for Paul, we know that the trials of life can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. And sometimes they come in combination.

Lately I’ve been considering the spikes that make life uncomfortable or worse:
Barbsperfectionism,
a minor injury,
low God-esteem,
a misunderstanding,
incapacitating worry,
a learning difference,
destructive relationships,
a chronic or terminal illness,
a personality or eating disorder,
the loss of all earthly possessions, . . .

Anything that leads us to ask, “Why is this happening to me?”

BUT . . . What if that’s the wrong question?

What if we should rightly ask, “Why is this happening for me?”

This subtle change of wording transforms us from victim to victor. And so we are through Christ. Share on X

7 crownWe need not wrestle with the questions “What’s wrong with me?” or “What have I done to deserve this illness / mess / issue / problem / difference / struggle / ______?”

Rather we can direct our focus toward the One who arranges the details of our lives. The Almighty is the very definition of love. Love is His nature and character, the foundation and motivation of His commitment to work out all things for our good.

In light of these truths we can go on to ask,

“What do You want to show me?”

“How do You want to grow me?”

as we join our wills with The Almighty’s.

5 handsIn so doing we humbly slip our hand inside His that His all-sufficient grace might strengthen us as we make our way through the thorn-strewn path toward victory.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That 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.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10*

When was the last time you asked the victim’s question?
What would change if you turned it into the victor’s quest?      Comment below.

*NIV1984

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