“This thorn in my flesh is the only thing I’ve got left, and it’s so hard to forget when everybody think’s you’re perfect. But, I cry for you, if you feel it too. And I cry for you, if you show how to lose the elephants in the room…” ~”Cry For You” Lecrae
We all have our things, vices, weakness, flaws – whatever word you choose to use – we all have them. Sometimes, I feel like I have more than I can count. Character flaws that keep me humble, let me count the ways… Oh wait, stop! This list is depressing me… I have often asked God, “What was Paul’s thorn in his flesh, that he wanted removed?” No answer… Or maybe I have received it, through readings – We wrestle not against flesh… The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak… Though I will to do right, my flesh… So, I have to wonder… I did some research, and people have said, “His eyesight was bad.” Umm… so is mine, and that doesn’t keep me humble, even when I cannot find my glasses.” (And, I am pretty blind.) Granted, I am no Paul, they didn’t have glasses back then, poor eyesight would have really inhibited him and his ministry…
One thing that I think I have come to realize, no matter the “thorn in my flesh” I have to take my eyes off of my flaws, my imperfections, all that I am lacking, and look to Christ. “Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” Yes, I may see, and even feel my faults so strong at times. Sometimes, I feel so unworthy. You know what it’s like when when that “thorn” pricks you? It hurts. Sometimes, the prick isn’t that bad. Sometimes, you bleed. Sometimes, you wonder if it will ever stop puncturing your skin, because if it digs in deeper, you just might die! Sometimes, you have the notion that you may bleed out. Ever feel that way? I could be the only one. Sometimes the “thorn” is something that we have taken on from someone else – it is not ours to own. Do we know how to pluck it out? Do we know that it isn’t ours? But, my God, this pain! Can’t you just take it away?
So, what do we do with the pain? Some of our “thorns” aren’t going away. If Paul’s thorn was his poor eyesight, there was nothing he could do about that. Today, sure, you can get Lasik/PRK or glasses/contacts. One day, you may need glasses or readers again if you went the eye surgery route. I have considered it, but I like glasses – gives me character (I have multiple pair). Then, there are those “thorns” that others can’t see. That only we know. If others knew about them, we may be embarrassed, or wonder how they would treat us, look at us, should they find out. *Is this a “thorn”?* Sometimes, I am embarrassed at the thought: What if people knew that my bathroom counters are messy? Silly, right? I also don’t make my bed. The rest of my house is clean – spotless. I scrub my walls and base boards once a week – I used to do it twice a week when time allowed, time no longer allows. I can’t wait for the day… Even when time allowed, bathroom counters, bed covers, it did not matter. “Thorn”? Well, that’s a weight off of my shoulders! “Thorn” or no “thorn.”
I asked God to remove some things that I considered “thorns” from me. And whether it’s because they are battles that I need to fight, or the timing is not now, these “thorns” are with me. These have been the only prayers I have sought of God… For all else, in regards to myself, I pray Thy will be done. Of course for my children, I pray protection, peace, love, joy… I often forget to pray that even for myself – I get so caught up praying for others, that I forget to pray for myself… Sometimes, I don’t feel worthy… I try to remember that He will give me all the desires of my heart… I don’t even know what those are, as I deal with these “thorns in my flesh.”
I think of that ’80s song: … Every rose has it’s thorn… Yes, every ROSE… Could it be that in all of my unworthiness, in the pain of the “thorn in my side” there is a Beautiful Rose Blooming to which I never even paid attention? Why focus on the pain of the “thorn” when I should look up to the “Beauty of the Blossom”. Maybe, just maybe, if there are multiple “thorns”, there are multiple “roses” that have bloomed/ blooming. Beauty is pain. I’ve never grown without a little bit of pain, in any case… It’s always been at least a tad uncomfortable.