A Prayer to Celebrate the “Thorns” in Life
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Thorn: a source of discomfort, annoyance, or difficulty; an irritation or obstacle.
You know how God knows just what you need? And loves to arrange an opportunity to put you in your place, and ultimately teach you what living for Him is all about? Well, as soon as I found out that the name of my little one's soccer team was the Thorns, I knew it was no coincidence... and that He was up to something.
My littlest has challenged me in ways I couldn't have imagined. She has pushed me and stretched me as a mama. And the truth is, the Lord knew I needed her... to see how much I needed Him.
There might have been a few times her behavior as a toddler felt like "a thorn in my side," so I must admit that the team name made me giggle.
And recently, as I cheered her on and yelled, "Go Thorns!" it hit me how ironic that sounds. Thorns are not things we would normally cheer for. They aren't something we want to have in our lives. But just like Paul, we all need them. And here's why:
"...So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Hard things are not fun. But when we are weak, when we are "less than," those are the moments when He can shine. When we realize His strength is all we have...and all we need. Without those hard things...those irritations, obstacles, and difficulties...we might think we can make it on our own. And make ourselves greater than the One who holds the world, and our "worlds,” in the palm of His hand.
My littlest is a gift, just like my other babies, but when she was a toddler having a tantrum in the middle of Winn Dixie, I have to admit that I wasn't thinking "Go Thorns!" However, looking back, the Lord has grown my faith because of those moments.
"So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:18
With that perspective in mind, one focused on eternity and not the world we can see right here, we might need to yell, "Go Thorns!" next time a hard thing comes. Because those are the moments that bring us closer to Jesus.
And that's worth celebrating, my sweet friends.
Thank you for all of the ways you are working in my life, even through the hard things. Please forgive me for doubting and losing faith at times, and help me to seek your strength, wisdom, and words as you use the “thorns” in life for my good and Your glory.
In Your Mighty Name,
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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Originally published Thursday, 26 August 2021.