I’ve always loved to dance. But as a young girl, I was painfully shy and would never dance in front of others. If I thought I was alone, I could dance anywhere and sometimes didn’t need music. One particular day stands out… the day I was dancing in my socks on top of a wooden chest. Sounds silly now, but at the time I was having fun! That is until I heard this strange cracking sound and felt this pinching sensation in my foot.
I climbed down and took off my sock to investigate. What I found was a deeply embedded splinter that traversed the entire bottom of my foot.
Boy did it hurt.
My dad attempted to remove the splinter with little success.
So, I was left with a splinter that I had to accept until it worked itself out.
With every step that splinter screamed its presence. It was painful and annoying.
Thankfully, it never got infected, and it eventually did resolve.
No more splinter, but what lingered was a lesson.
A lesson in tolerance.
Like my splinter, the Apostle Paul speaks of a “thorn in his flesh.”
“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.”~ 2 Corinthians 12:6-8
We don't know precisely what Paul's thorn was- whether physical, spiritual or emotional. What we do know is that it was a source of significant discomfort to him and he begged the Lord to remove it from his life.
What I find so interesting, is that God allowed the thorn to remain and Paul accepted his condition and came not only to the point of tolerance but a form of deliverance.
“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 12:9
God used the thorn to teach Paul a lesson, to develop his character, his strength, his stamina and his humility.
The thorn was a reminder that in Paul’s weakness God’s strength would be magnified.
What splinters or thorns do you have in your life?
* That medical condition that won’t resolve.
* The addiction that you can’t seem to break.
* That person that you wish wasn’t in your life (boss, co-worker, in-law, step-child, neighbor or associate). You know, the person that bothers you to the point it causes you such frustration you wish they would magically disappear!
Do you see them for their intended purpose or do you wish for an easy fix?
Have you considered that God may have placed these splinters in your life for a reason? An intended purpose of testing, developing and teaching you?
He wants His children to trust Him, be obedient to His leadings and to respond with patience, love, and kindness.
Whatever your thorn, remember it takes time to develop tolerance.
In the meantime, know that God has a plan, and His grace is always sufficient.
He always works things out for our good- even the splinters!
Father, thank you for the thorns and splinters in our life. Although we may struggle, we know you are at work to cultivate something beautiful from our distress. Help us to focus on you and to develop an attitude of tolerance for the things in our lives that cause discomfort. You give us the power to overcome for when we are weak you are strong.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28