Embracing Thorns


I used to watch people in the limelight of ministry with a little bit of jealousy. They seemed to be magically using their gifts and seemed so fulfilled--so happy. They appeared to be honoring God, and then as an added bonus, to possess all of our respect and admiration. How rewarding, I thought. Until… that light shined on me just a little.

I’m a wife and a mom and a speaker and a writer, and it is not fancy, easy or ego-stroking. So far it has felt like death--and not a clean, swift, bullet-through-the-heart kind of death. No, it’s a slow, drawn-out, when-is-this-going-to-be-over thing.

Scrutiny and opinions have found us. Battling Satan… not really a highlight. And juggling the weight of leading people to God--while trying to pull off godly mom and wife and friend and carpool driver… heavy balls to toss around.

See, God has a means of shaping our motives. He wants our hearts to be pure. He is changing us, humbling us, making our hearts beat for him.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:7-9)

The things that make this calling weighty are the very things that keep my head down in it. Thorns push us to need God, and as I make my way through my thorns, I remember my humanity, my insecurity, my fear, my sin. I rustle through them all, knowing that through all this unbelief and fear and selfishness, he is on the other side. I wish it was easier. But then again, it would cost nothing and mean nothing if it were. And knowing me, I’d go looking for the limelight instead of for God.

What if we ran through our thorns and our sin and let God straighten us out as we go? We can’t wait until our sin is gone before we run, or we never will. We have to fight it as we run. I think in twenty years, we will regret more of the things we didn’t do than the things we did imperfectly.

What if we ran through our thorns and our sin and let God straighten us out as we go?

We all have been given roles in a story that is about something so much bigger; it just isn’t about us. After all that living on the back row, afraid of stealing God’s glory, a reality check is in order. Who am I to even think such a thing? As my friend Christine Caine says, “Who am I to dare think, that on my very best day, I could even take one little piece of the glory of God?”

So we throw off the sin that entangles and we run… But where do we run?

You can read more on this post in my book, Restless: Because You Were Made for More. You can find a copy here!