The Thorn and the Rose -By Lois Macdonald

Heavy eyelids lifted ever so slightly, then abruptly closed in a desperate attempt to shield her thoughts from today’s demanding agenda. Daylight gradually escorted all lovely remnants of sweet dreams and wishful thinking out of mind, making room for unfinished business and what refused to be deleted from the “I would rather forget this” memory section. Not that she considered her life filled with unpleasantries. Quite the opposite. But she did agree, without prejudice, that the Apostle Paul’s belief, “that to keep me [Paul] from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…” [2 Corinthians 12:7-8], held true for everyone. She concluded that she must have been leaning towards a very prideful life indeed if the tormentor chose to push her into the entire thorn bush? It was a little comfort knowing that not a single person was exempt from this dreaded “thorn in the side” plight.

Sleep, however, seemed to be the one true sanctuary she could count on to provide rest for her festering soul.

The loud outcry of a nearby alarm broke any resemblance of calm into millions of shattered pieces before she could capture a single one. With a disheartened sigh, she slipped her toasty feet from under the snug duvet onto the cold tiled floor below. A new day had arrived.

 Who is this arch enemy who jabs at our sides as a cruel reminder of our imperfections? Implanting visions of battlefields filled with failed diets, unused gym memberships, half-finished projects, broken promises and for extra effect, and last but not least, an exhausted flag of procrastination marking the vacation destination, whose brochure was abandoned long ago, now collecting dust? 

“I was given a thorn in my flesh.” Paul’s openness to share his thorn story gave her a spark of courage to look beyond the thorns today. Beyond the pain of her repeated defeats. She felt she could almost hear Paul cheering, saying “the thorns were never there to harm you.” “ The Creator has placed them there to keep the enemy from devouring you.” The sweet fragrance of rose petals filled her room.

As she left her home that morning, it was not the critical voice of the enemy she heard. It was the gentle voice of Jesus calling in the soft breeze, “Follow Me precious one.  For I am the Rose of Sharon, and you belong in My Father’s Garden.”

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