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That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV

We have two rose bushes at our house. As much as I enjoy the flowers in bloom, I'm not overly fond of the thorns. Even with gloves, in pruning them, I am pricked and scratched by these sharp protrusions.

In verse 7, Paul mentions being given a thorn in his flesh. We don't know what that thorn was, maybe some physical ailment, but given this verse, it appears to be a person, "a messenger of Satan," sent to inflict pain–someone opposed to Paul's message of salvation and freedom.

When faced with this adversity, Paul could have given up. "It's too hard. They're not worth it. I'm going home." He could also have continued humble bragging, "Look at me, I'm so abused, yet here I still am preaching the good news." But he did neither of those things. Instead, he delighted in his situation. In embracing his thorn, he acknowledged his total reliance on God. "Yes, I'm being insulted and persecuted, but Christ makes me strong." With that strength, he could continue the work he had been called to do.

Along with the roses in life, we sometimes receive thorns; they are unavoidable. We don't like them; they prick at us and are uncomfortable. But, as painful as they are, they remind us from where strength comes. Even if we have to live with them, we can do so through God'sdon't help.

God, thank you for the roses and the thorns. When the thorns confront us, help us to face our weakness and turn to you for strength. Grant us what we need to continue the excellent work you've started with us. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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