I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 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. II Cor. 12:7-10
Does it seem like more and more Christians you know are being persecuted in some form or another? Maybe you are having to endure some "seemingly-never-ending" battle with the enemy. Sometimes it seems like the persecution has become a thorn that is stuck in your flesh. No matter how many times you plead with God to remove it, for some reason, He will not remove it.
Ever been there?
I have. In fact, recently I begged God to remove not just one thorn, but SEVERAL, that torment me and have crushed my spirit. "This just doesn't make any sense, Father! This hurts so badly! It seems as if these thorns in my flesh will never be removed!"
But then the Holy Spirit began to gently reply, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Rev. 3:21)
Then He began to "paint a mental picture" by saying, "Take these thorns that I have allowed, and imagine them to be woven into a crown, dear child.
I wore a crown of thorns too. . . but I overcame. If you overcome (and you will, through Me) I will turn each and every painful thorn into a beautiful jewel, and each of those jewels is woven into an eternal crown. You will share My throne with Me."
Jesus allows the painful thorns in our flesh for a specific reason. Maybe it's to allow us to fellowship with Him in His suffering. . but it doesn't stop there! In our weakness, His power will rest upon us, just like a crown rests upon a person's head. He turns the crown of thorns into the resting place of His power!
Each trouble, storm, and "thorn from the enemy" is painful and difficult to bear, yes, ~ but when I realize Jesus has allowed it, and by His grace I'll someday trade this "crown of thorns" for a beautiful crown in heaven, my heart is humbled. There is nothing in me that is worthy to even partake of His suffering.
Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Dear Heavenly Father, why should You even allow me the privilege of wearing a crown woven full of thorns? Even though these "thorns" hurt, and are in the form of being ridiculed, despitefully used, misunderstood, insulted, hated and rejected, help me remember You are giving me a chance to understand more of Your Son's suffering that He endured on my behalf. He kept His eyes on the joy that was set before Him. . . so please help me keep my eyes on the joy that is set before ME too. The Joy of Knowing You, the Joy of Becoming More Like Your Son, the Joy of being broken and spilled out. The Joy of one day ruling and reigning with Jesus.
Just like the bubbling brook that laughs and sings as it splashes over the rocks, and goes lower and lower, help me find this Joy that only comes from You so that I may be a blessing to others who come in contact with me. I picture a babbling brook and someone dipping their tired feet in the cool water, just to find refreshment. The brook is low, at the feet of others.... a picture of humility. But on its way down, the babbling brook laughed and sang joyfully, as it overcame the rocks and "obstacles" it faced. Please help me be joyful as I'm on my way "down." Make me a channel of blessing to others. Thank You, Jesus, for wearing a crown of thorns for me! May Your power rest upon my head, just like a crown.
In Your lovely name I pray, Amen.