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Thank Him For Your Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.

During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

“She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder. Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?”  The shop clerk’s approach startled her.

“I….I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.

“For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary,” asked the shop clerk, “or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving ‘Special?’  Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”

Then, the door’s small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, “Hi, Barbara, let me get your order.” She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.

“Want this in a box?” asked the clerk.

Sandra watched for the customer’s response. Was this a joke?

Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.

“You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again.” She said as she gently tapped her chest.

“Uh,” stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, uh….she just left with no flowers!”

“Right, said the clerk, “I cut off the flowers. That’s the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.”

“Oh, come on, you can’t tell me someone is willing to pay for that!” exclaimed Sandra.

“Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel today,” explained the clerk. “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.

“That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk, “and for the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.”

“So what did you do?” asked Sandra.

“I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort.

“You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”

Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

Just then someone else walked in the shop. “Hey, Phil!” shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.

“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement—twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?”

“No, I’m glad you asked,” Phil replied. “Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from ‘thorny’ times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific ‘problem’ and give thanks for what that problem taught us.”

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.” Sandra said to the clerk.  “It’s all too…fresh.”

“Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently.  “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”

“Thank you.  What do I owe you?”

“Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.”

It read: My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.”

Praise Him for your roses, thank Him for your thorns.



Category: AllWorship Blog | 17 Replies

17 comments

  1. Amen! God indeed is allowing us to experience and encounter so much problems ( thorns ) which will help us to endure and know how HE loves us truly and HIS power will be displayed upon our lives.

  2. A couple of years ago during one of the bad times in my marriage, I woke up on one Sunday feeling sad. As I was getting ready to go to church (Thanksgiving Sunday), staring at myself in the mirror, I asked myself/God, what do I have to give thanks for? The wordings of this song “Count your blessings name them one by one ..” came to my spirit.
    It brought a grateful smile to my face and as I drove to church, I knew I would be alright. The the greatest testimony was yet to unfold. As service started and the congregational hymn came up, guess what the song was. The same song (“Count your blessings name them one by one ..”) that came to my Spirit that morning.
    Then I knew that whatever happened, I had an assurance that God was with me and He would see me through whatever was ahead of me.
    I went through separation and finally got divorced. The Holy Spirit reminded me that bitterness, anger, malice or hatred was not an option towards the ex-husband. So I prayed for Him everyday and the more I prayed for him, the more I experienced the peace of God and joy that comes from God.
    One of my favorite scriptures became Isaiah 26:3- “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee”
    Over the years, when I find myself straying, I bring God in remembrance of this promise.

  3. This made me cry.My husband went to be with the Lord just about 4yrs ago & my daughter 36 yrs old went 8 mo.ago.This will be my first Thanksgiving without her.I have never been more closer to the Lord than now. I praise You for the thorns Jesus.My heart goes out to all &i truly believe the thorns bring us closer to Him!Thank you my baby sister who is always there for me, for sending this to me .I love you.

  4. I love it . . . . brought tears to my eye because it made me realize that I should not just praise God during the good times but also during the bad times. Thank You.

  5. The thorns in our lives gives us more time to be under the Wings of Jesus! Beautiful way to describe the thorn times and to get the comfort of Gods Love! Blessings, Amen!

  6. I just wanted to reply to Stella. Stella you know that even though you have lost your husband and your daughter, those are not your only family. In Christ we are a family. I am finding that understanding how a family works and is supposed to be helps us to know the love of Christ and how the body of Christ, the Church of the living God is supposed to work or exist. I pray that you would be surrounded by your family in heaven this year and that even though you lost your husband, who was part of you as a husband and wife are to be one flesh that you would be closer to the Lord your maker and husband. We are one in Christ. I lost my baby brother a few years ago and it was a pain I had never felt, not even when I lost my dad when I was 16, but GOD brought the comfort and opened my eyes to a larger family, my family in heaven, who I had always been around but couldnt see or understand. So now I know why Paul said I desire only to know Christ among you.

    God bless you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner and a Merry Christmas. Every day is a precious gift from God.

    Hebrews 5:7 (KJV)
    7 “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; ”

    Tears are a language God understands and He will dry all of your tears and replace them with joy !

  7. I am in tears after reading this powerful revelation. When I accepted Jesus into my life, He prospered me and I extended financial helps to many of Christians in and outside my church. Through the many prophets and evangelists, I was told that God will make me an end-time financier, a lender to many and borrow from none.

    I have been down financially since 2000 and my 27 yrs of marriage is breaking up. No Christians came to my help when I pleaded and friends are avoiding me. I am dismayed, no doubt about that. I believe in His perfect timing, I shall arise and shine soon.

    Thank you, Jesus, for the Mighty Cross. I know I can trust in You for You will work all things out for the good of all who love You. From now on I will never trust in man, princes, chariots & horses but I trust in the Name of Jesus alone.

  8. What a great message.I’ve gone through thorns,sleepless nights,tears being my meat,but tonight Am thanking God for every thorn.God bless you for blessing my life

  9. Thank you for reminding us that God is always in control, even when our lives seem out of control to us. He is a loving, merciful God and will not allow these “thorns” in our lives if they didn’t somehow glorify Him in the end. I’m still learning how to be thankful for these thorns and pray that He is glorified in the process.

  10. I can only say God The Thorns I have to bare were A JOY Today I Thank You For Everyone of Them I will Bless The Lord At all Times I Love You God

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this very moving testimony of God’s amazing grace which has spoken immensely to me today it touch my heart deeply as I deal with a difficult situation in my life. Praise God for those thorns that make us strong and give us what we need for the rest of the journey. Thank you and thank you, God continue to use you in a mighty way.

  12. Good lesson;
    without the thorny stem; there wouldn’t be roses; i will learn to be thankful for the thorns- especially the crown of thorns, without which we wouldn’t have been redeemed.

  13. What a beautiful message. Yes, we have all experienced thorns in our lives. And we will continue to experience them. Who ever the writer is, I thank them for this message. We serve a mighty God who knows our hurts and needs. He is our comforter. He will never forsake us. The bible says we will go through trials and tribulations in life. However, we must keep the faith and look to Him. Once again, I thank you for this powerful healing message.


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