“Mom, I need your help! Everything my hand touches sends pain up my finger! Can you figure out what’s wrong and fix it?!!” At first glance I see nothing, however upon closer observation I see a hairlike sliver in the tip of his finger and with the proper tool (a tweezers, because that’s as surgical as I get before passing out) it was out in no time, pain gone! Yay mom, life is good! But what about the “thorns” your mom can’t remove and stay painfully stuck…
Take a moment and read Psalm 73.
This Psalm is written by Asaph a musician that led the praises of the Jews as the ark entered into Jerusalem. He was good at praise, he was good at worship but here in this Psalm we see him admit he is beginning to slip from wisdom and godliness. Why? Because he is struggling with the ways of the world. Why does good happen to the wicked and bad happen to the good? Verse 7 NLT states, These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! In verse 13 he wonders if he has kept his heart pure for nothing. (14) I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. Have you been where Asaph is?
What I love and can learn from him is what he does and doesn’t do with his feelings. Verse 15, he doesn’t take them to other people, he doesn’t want others to stumble in their faith over his doubts so he instead goes straight to God. Verse 17, Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood…. (21) Then I realized that my heart was bitter and I was all torn up inside. Isn’t that exactly what the enemy wants to do to you with the thorns that are allowed into your life!? Tear you up inside and ultimately cause you to tear your heart away from God!
What else does God reveal to Asaph as a result of him running into His mighty hand? He reveals His mighty heart that is FOR him. Verse 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My heart may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. FOREVER! He is reminded that for those who believe, this world is as bad as it will ever get; and for those who don’t, this world is as good as it will ever get. (John 3:16)
Much of Scripture shows us He wants to meet with us, fellowship with us, walk in a love relationship with us daily. Joshua 24:15 …choose today whom you will serve… choose today, everyday, some days every moment I need to re-fix my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith (Heb. 12:2) because some “thorns” feel unbearable yet I’m reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He sweat blood because the pain and pressure of the “thorn” was so great. Yet He chose to bear it and submit to His Father’s will in order to win me a way into His eternal kingdom so that my “thorns” would not be eternal. (Luke 22:39-45) They instead could be used for His glory and praise and the saving of many more lives into His kingdom! (Gen. 50:20)
Jesus, the “thorns” in this life that You allow for a season or maybe even a lifetime that the enemy wants to use to tear me up inside and ultimately use to tear my heart from Yours, Jesus I pray You use to strengthen my faith! That I would be able to raise that shield of faith and pray, “not my will but Your’s be done Father”, and at that, every fiery dart from hell aimed at me would be extinguished! If it’s not Your will to take these “thorns” away in this life I will praise You that they will not go with me to the next! Allow them then today to make me instead run deeper into You like Asaph into Your sanctuary. Like the thorn in my sons hand made him realize he needed someone bigger… Lord, use these “thorns” to make me more aware of my constant need of You, I AM, who is bigger, to see You in ways I never would have otherwise even been looking; allow them to show me Your sufficiency, Your strength brought to perfection in my weakness. May those deep “thorns” take my heart deeper, deeper still into You Father. Amen.
Independent Read: Eph. 3:14-21, John 14:1-3, Acts 7:5 (nothing appeared to make sense yet he trusted), Hebrews 11:10, Eph. 6:16, John 15:5, Romans 8:28