“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
Thank You for My Thorns
As an athlete, the thought of being “weak” and “without strength” is a scary notion that opposes everything I strive for. I am in the weight room six days a week pursuing the antithesis of what this verse instructs me to do — become strong.
Entering my sophomore year, I was the No. 1 cornerback on the depth chart and primed to be the first sophomore to start for my school in more than six years. I felt ready to show what I could do, however, God had other plans. Just two practices before our first game, I tore my lower lumbar and was out for the season.
Instead of starting all season, I was not even able to dress a single game. I laid in bed waiting for my back to heal, battled through physical therapy, and had to learn to sprint again. During this time, I became bitter for the hardships and asked God, “Why?”
However, the secret to grasping God’s complete sufficiency is in coming to the end of everything in ourselves and our circumstances. At this point, we’ll stop searching for sympathy in our trials, and recognize these as necessary conditions for blessings. Through this trying time, God strengthened me into the man of God He wanted me to be — and into a better football player, as well. I came back the following season and performed at a level I never thought imaginable.
George Matheson once said, “My dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorns.”
We climb to God through the path of pain, and through our tears we see our rainbows.
Turn from your circumstances to God, and He will strengthen you with a power never imagined. When we do this, we are made strong while we are weak, and learn to delight in our thorns.
— Brian Payne
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