Paul was a great man of Prayer. His preaching, soul-winning, and writing is the benchmark of a million would-be apostles. His list of accomplishments were then banished by his humility to know only Jesus and Him crucified – making him qualified to say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Paul said that he prayed three times for a “thorn” to be removed from his side and God did not grant his request. His account speaks to the great Value of Thorns. The Lord did reply to Paul however, He said, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” The removal of the ‘thorn’ would have devalued God’s grace in Paul’s life. God’s strength requires unremoved thorns in order to be perfected. If all prayers were answered in our desired fashion, there would be no need for our continued trust in God’s grace.
The absence of wind does not make the tree stronger. It cripples the root system, eventually killing the tree. Vacated resistance doesn’t produce peace; it only makes one weaker. Sadly, I believe we have entered a religious era where the Lord is seen as the Fix-It-God or the One Who solves our problems. Yet the fact is this: The same God who calms the storms with the sound of His voice also calls them into existence. The Truth is that God, both sends the trial and delivers us from it. If we cannot see the reason behind it, then we have been swept away by the current of fleshly philosophy. The Modern Jesus, which of course which does not exist, makes everyone happy, wealthy, and removes all struggles in life. Yet the Real Jesus, found in the scripture, leaves thorns in place so that His grace can work its wonder and so our weakness can become His strength. Because sometimes only the work of thorns can bring us close to His side.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole