Friday, June 10, 2011

Glad Thorns

One of Your gifts to me is to show me my sins. As I am getting older, my physical limitations increasingly show themselves, but whether these rise to attention or not, my desire to do wrong remains. Part of Your mercy lies in the revelation of my weakness in the face of Your holiness. I think so often that Your mercy lies in rescue, but today I am not so sure. Today I think that a great deal of your mercy lies in Your constancy and in reminders that I am a human and You are God.

Every morning, I measure my new day against You. You are not in unflagging desert heat. You are not in the friendly sun. Cool clouds like today's do not bring You. You show Yourself only in startling fire, in thunderous rolling clouds. I stretch out relaxed flesh under sweet, mild days and in those times, am fully human, but You come only in ferocity of Spirit.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my side, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.--2Cor 12:7

Paul said that the thorn in his side was a messenger of Satan, but it also came as a gift; he knew torment because it brought him to his all-too-human knees before You in constant humility. I don't like that, either. I want to stand before You, to recall my supremacy on earth, my rule over creation. You want me to kneel and acknowledge You, Creator of all, and supreme over all You made, including me.

When You made Adam and gave him dominion over all other creatures, you put him in direct conflict with Satan, to whom you had already given power on the earth. You always knew that Satan's resulting temptations would reveal man's most repulsive parts and thereby show Your greatness in sustaining and forgiving. All in Your plan. It was always all in Your plan.

So I glory in my weakness. Every time I hurt, I recall You do not. Every time I sin, I know You do not. Every time I miss the mark, I remember where to look to aim better next time. Every time the storm comes, I remember Your glory and ferocity in it. In the end, I do not want You to be like me. I want You strong and powerful, but once I acknowledge that You are, that difference lasts for all time. I will always be weak before you, but my condition's corollary is that I know You as You truly are. My thorns become my allies in this.

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