Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Thorns and Roses

Why does it matter that we understand how God used thorny wood throughout the Bible? What difference does it make to our faith? 

There are probably a lot of answers here, but I'll share with you the one that first jumped into my heart when I came to understand how dangerous the acacia tree is. 

You've probably heard a saying that goes something along the lines of, "You can be bitter that rose bushes have thorns, or you can be grateful that thorn bushes have roses." And this is, I think, the very spiritual truth that many of us need to hear. 

One of the biggest questions that persons have about Christianity, whether they've never been a Christian at all or have sometimes been in the church for an entire lifetime, is how on earth bad things keep happening if God is supposed to be good. Why is the world the way it is if God always has goodness and love in His heart? 

I think the answer is the acacia tree. 

See, it shows us that God has never been afraid to work with the ugly things of this world. He's never been afraid to get right down into the thicket, into the thorns. He is perfectly skilled at removing the thorns and making something beautiful - even something holy - out of what lies beneath. Something that, we must remember, is strong, yet workable. 

Not only that, but God has continually called us to do the same. 

God didn't make His own Tabernacle; He just gave the plans and then called the craftsman to do it. And gifted him for he work. 

God didn't make His own Ark; He called Noah to do it. And gifted him for the work. 

God didn't make His own Cross; He allowed the Romans to do it. And history tells us they were quite gifted at the work. 

God calls us to make things out of the thorns. God calls us to strip them away and get down to what is beautiful and holy. God calls us to use some of the most dangerous, most painful things in the world to bring glory to His name. 

And He gifts us for the work. 

For me, this is a blessed reminder when the hard days come. When the world seems weird or wrong or broken. When I'm wandering through a wilderness thick with thorns that are more like needles, more like the acacia tree. 

Because just look at everything those thorns have already made. 

Imagine what else could come of this.  

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