Thorns, in Scripture symbolize troubles. Troublesome people, troublesome habits and troubled people.
- And, being cast out of the lush Garden of Eden- God told them..’ Thorns and thistles shall the earth bring forth…’ Gen. 3: 18-19
- ‘Other seed fell in the midst of thorns and the thorns grew up alongside and choked the good plant…The seed that fell among the thorns, these are the ones who- as they go their way are choked and suffocated with the anxieties, worries, cares and responsibilities of this life…’ Luke 8:7,14
- ‘And you, son of man, be not afraid of their words; though briers and thorns are all around you…be not afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks…’ Ezekiel 2:6-7
- Three times the Apostle Paul asked for his Thorn in the Flesh to be removed, ‘a thorn… a messenger of evil, sent to rack, buffet and harass me’ ..ultimately the thorn remained. Paul changed his mind: ‘I am quite happy about the thorn, and about the insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then He is strong…the less I have, the more I depend on Him’ 2 Cor. 12:10.
- A blind and heartbroken George Mattheson wrote: ‘My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorns, I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my Roses, but not once for my thorns…Teach me the value of my Thorn.’
- ‘…and weaving together a Crown of Thorns, they began to mock him, struck His Head and spat on Him, making sport of Him…’ Mark 15:18-19
Lord Jesus, as daffodil trumpets herald the beginning of Spring and the Dogwood dares to bear blood tinged white blossoms centered with a Crown of Thorns- we know that it not right for so many of us to be wracked with mental agony, fearful of the future and plagued with anxious fretful minds. Too often we are tired, worried with the strains of life, burdened with responsibilities, splintered by hurtful words, choked out and suffocated by prickly concerns in lives too full and complicated. Thorns…stunt our growth, halt our progress and reduce our growth and productivity. So we pray with heavy hearts, bringing burdens we have tried to shoulder on our own- yet even as we lay them before You, plead for relief, recount the burdens once again…something strange inside of us begins to gather our troubles back up again-
- re-packaged belongings,
- re-purposed fears,
- thick envelopes of worry,
- bags of the same old anxieties
Believing our concerns are not worthy of Your Glorious attention or- worse without a mustard seed of Faith or the Patience to wait, we wonder if we ever really believed Your Divine Power would be exerted on our behalf. Why is it Lord, we are caught in thickets of calendars crammed too full, bristling while we wait in a line, harassed in heavy traffic, suffocating from social obligations, drowning in debt or choked out expecting too much out of life? We are worn out trying to organize what we already have. Will we ever be free of the need for more when there’s no time to take care of the gifts You have already given?
We live in a briar patch of stress and strain, fretting foolishly, harboring broken promises, words spoken in haste, small slights or outright rejection- jeers of foolish beings who feel superior only when they’ve put others down; these are Thorns in our flesh, Splinters in our hearts-Dry parched lips from sweat filled nightmares- we’ve all felt them. How can we ever think our Cross-Slain Savior doesn’t know how it feels? Yet, our Divine Friend, You do, if Anyone ever has known, You know.
As the earth begins to thaw… as Easter draws near, we see the everlasting sign- the Crown of Thorns within Dogwood blooms. Let every sense available bring forth Golgotha- the odor of sweat mingled with fresh Blood, bitter gall, vinegar and dried spit, the agony of humiliation; loud boisterous gaming for a White Robe, heinous laughter and coarse jeers. The sky darkens, You know- if anyone knows, You know deserted loneliness when Heaven’s Angels turn their backs on You; You know rejection-even Your own Father has forsaken You; Yes You know. Let us remember anew, throughout all Eternity…You know exactly what humanity feels. Of all of the suffering wounds, perhaps the most worrisome encircles Your Head- A Crown of Thorns…
- ‘John, take care of My Mother’ …
- One thief accuses, ‘You saved others, You can’t save us!’
- Another pleads- ‘I’m dying, Lord…don’t forget me..’
Even in the Sacrificial Dying- the constant strain, the needs of others were piercing Your Mind…In every way, You understand the human dilemma. We ask You then, to teach us how to live in the thicket of thorns, how to grow in expectant joy- right in the midst of stress and strain; and as we exist in this troubling human condition, help us to find ways to be gentle, affectionate toward one another and always thankful for our thorns. Give us strength to explore the depths of pain and find blessings there. Teach us the value of our thorns. Allow us not to be strangled by circumstances and suffocated by life. Provide ways, in quiet stillness, to find our peace in Thee. Fill us with the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of our chaotic thorny paths fraught with worrisome distractions. Help us to do our part to simplify our lives. Teach us the secret of serene living: Each day has potential to bring so much joy among life’s aggravations. May we know without question that You are an understanding Savior, in Whom we have:
- unfailing Mercy,
- Divine Strength,
- abundant Grace,
- eternal Forgiveness-
- Divine Love
- perfect Peace
All of these gifts help us to live as kind, grateful Children of God. May our lives resemble the fleeting beauty of the Dogwood Blossom and the fresh renewal of Springtime. Take us in Your Loving Arms-
- apply Your Healing Balm to every piercing, every scrape and every scar-
- smooth out the life lined worry-wrinkles,
- relieve our feverish anxieties,
- lift our burdened hearts,
- heal our fear-filled, doubt-ridden minds,
- place Your cool Hand of Mercy on our wounded souls and
- be refreshed as we find our Rest in Thee.
To the One Crowned with Thorns on Calvary’s Cruel Cross, the One Who has overcome Tribulation and is now and forever The Living Water and Earth’s Divine Oasis. Amen.
Blessings from our briar patch to yours…Love y’all, Camellia
*photographs of waning Dogwood Blossoms are obviously mine.