Child, child, love the Rose. Embrace your thorn as faithful friend.
If ever there were opposites it would be thorns and roses—pain and pleasure. Loving the Rose is one thing but embracing thorns as a friend … now that’s something entirely different. How could I ever relate the pain of our thorns with the blessing of a faithful friend?
Trust me. I understand the apparent insensitivity of such a request. I am not minimizing your pain so please hear me out. Today I want to stretch your comfort zone by asking you to imagine the work of the thorn as similar to that of a trusted friend.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Even though it might hurt, real friends still tell the truth. They understand its unique power to secure freedom and unleash hope. Not so our enemies. They tell us what we want to hear. They give kisses when rebukes are needed. So, while we may have many enemies our greatest foe is rarely found in flesh and blood but in the brazen stuff of deception.
The first earthly instance of deception is in Genesis 3:1. Here “the serpent” deceives Adam and Eve. It somehow tempted them to believe that God wasn’t enough … that he was not their true source. The result was a turning … a turning away from God and towards themselves in fruitless efforts to find the life they once knew. Ever since, a sort of amnesia has ensued. Though created in God’s image, we’ve forgotten that He is the source of our life.
Yet, the simple act of re-turning is often the most difficult choice a human will ever make because at its center is the issue of lordship. Who will we make the point of our existence—us or God? Can we trust that in giving up our “rights” to live for self, God will really be enough?
People rarely come to faith when times are great but when life is falling apart. Why choose a new master when it seems we’re taking care of our needs well enough? It is through the thorns of suffering that the deception of self-lordship is finally shattered.
So, embrace your thorn as faithful friend. If we accept the “wounds” of this friend, we’ll finally realize the truth of our condition—we are broken and we are empty. We couldn’t see it then but it’s crystal clear now—we aren’t enough … this world isn’t enough … we need God. On this thorny ground we re-turn and finally surrender to the lordship of God. Next week, we talk about the miracle of transformation when we entrust our needs to God.
What Do You Think?
Can you embrace your thorn as faithful friend? What do you need from God to help you do this?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.