You know that feeling when the world seems to be crashing all around you. The clouds loom over head, the rain pours down, and the waves are all consuming. We’ve all had our share of storms.
When I think of storms, I immediately think of the first chapter of James. 'My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ' James 1:2-4
This familiar verse is simple to read when the road is an easy one. However, when in the midst of a trial, it’s harder to swallow. It’s especially distressing when you are honestly seeking the Lord for His direction, examining yourself, and humbly admitting where the Lord needs to work in your life to change your thoughts, actions, or attitudes. The Lord promises us that when we seek Him, we will find Him. When we knock, the door will be opened. He tells us He will give us wisdom when we ask for it, in faith. So, when it seems that the answer is far beyond our reach, one begins to become weary and discouraged. We begin to plead with the Lord to remove our “thorn” so that we can be more comfortable. Nevertheless, the Lord asks us to find joy in the midst of our pain.
Recently while trying to wrestle with this truth, I thought of Paul and his thorn. Obediently, I went to the Word to study a passage I am quite familiar with. However, God in His wisdom, used something I had read many times to reveal something new to me.
' And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.' -2 Corinthians 12:7-10
There is something comforting about knowing that His grace is all that we need, that when we are weak we are strong in HIM. Very encouraging stuff here, but what stood out to me this time, after having read this scripture many times were those few words…
“And lest I should be exalted above measure” Is this what the Lord would have me to consider? Has this thorn been given to me, lest I be exalted above measure? How could this be possible when my heart is truly seeking the Lord, His word, His will, and His desire for my life? Surely, I am not exalting myself?
While reflecting on this verse, the idea of Paul’s thorn brought to mind a sobering imagine of another thorn.
'When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” . -Matthew 27:29
The Creator of the universe. My savior. My redeemer. My rock. My salvation. My hope. My deliverer.
'He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.' –Philippians 2:8
And I am wallowing in my pain? Suddenly, the thorn in my flesh seemed like a splinter in light of what the Savior of the world suffered on my behalf.
You see when we focus on our storm, we forget to look at the one who calms the storm. When we focus on our thorn, we forget our King and the thorns he took for us. When we exalt ourselves, we mock Him. When we fail to count our trials as joy, we aren’t trusting Him to build our faith and the power of Christ cannot rest in us. We cannot allow Him to make us perfect and complete.
Friends, today I want to encourage you to see your storm in light of what Christ did for you. It may just make the winds die down and the rain seem to fall a little lighter.
He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30
*Heather is a stay home mom , she has two little boys and one big one.. she loves Jesus, home schooling and cooking!