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Words of Hope: Postholes and Thorns
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Words of Hope: Postholes and Thorns

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Being the week of Thanksgiving, I got up very early a few days ago thinking about all that God had done for me. I was deep into “grateful to God” meditation when I noticed how sore I was. I thought, “doggone postholes.” My prayers shifted quickly from the realm of thankfulness to the mental image of chipping away at some good ol’ Georgia chert.

I had dug several holes the day before and my body wasn’t happy about it. Ingratitude had crept into my prayers and a small pity-party had begun. Instead of continuing to give God the glory for how good He has been to me, I began to complain. Postholes. Really?

However, the Lord has a special way of correcting and teaching. In my mind I heard these words, “Be thankful for the postholes.”

“What?” I thought, “Why should I be thankful for the postholes?”

The lesson began. It was akin to being distracted while driving and drifting into the other lane. The Lord was guiding me back to the “Thank you lane”. The truth hit me.

You see, pain was the evidence God had blessed me with another day. I was alive. Thank you, Lord. I was blessed to still be able to drive posthole diggers. Many can’t. Thank you, Lord. The old posthole diggers, and my body, held up through all the rocks and roots. The grumbling gave way to guilt for not “thanking Him for the postholes.”

I thought of Job’s dialogue with his wife in Job 2:10 when he told her, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Those postholes are a microcosm of life and how I should look at it. God is awesome.

I remember the story of a woman who was going through a difficult time. It was Thanksgiving and she had gone to a flower shop for an arrangement. The dinner was at her house that year. Keep this in mind, the woman had lost a child earlier that summer, and late November had been the due date. It was painful as she opened the door and approached the counter.

The tears involuntarily began to pour, and the compassionate owner sat down with the young lady as she recounted her story. With kindness, the lady who owned the store said she needed the “special arrangement.” She went to the back and returned with a vase of 12 long, thorny stems. No roses; just stems.

“Is this a joke?” the woman said.

The owner then explained how she had lost her husband several years ago and she almost gave up. One day, as she prepared a dozen roses for someone, the bitterness overcame her. In anger, she clipped off the heads of the roses. She had wept bitterly while staring at the thorny stems. God spoke to her heart.

She looked at the fallen roses on the floor and it reminded her of the thousands of times He had blessed her. (Sometimes I take these blessings for granted). She looked at the stems and realized God was still with her in the worst of times. He always had been. God told her, “Be thankful for the thorns.”

By losing a loved one, the thorn represents their memory. By going through something difficult, the thorns will remind you to lean on Me for comfort. Finally, the thorns in life will enable you to better help others going through similar experiences.

“Pass it on dear,” she said.

The young lady smiled and hugged the owner. She took the stems, also buying a dozen beautiful roses. At her Thanksgiving dinner, she put them side by side. Everybody was curious. She told her family and friends these things. “Look at the roses and give thanks for all that God has done for you. Then look at the thorns and be grateful we have One who never leaves our side. Don’t forget to “Thank Him for the thorns.”

I thought of the Apostle Paul asking God to remove his thorn in the flesh three times. God did not. Don’t lose the true meaning by trying to figure out what the thorn was. The point is, Paul had to live with the thorn. God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Most remember this line, but few recall how the verse ends. It says, “That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Truer words were never written.

Don’t be a fair-weather Christian. There will be days as hard as the Georgia chert. Keep chipping away. There will be days when the pain of the thorn seems too much to bear. Don’t lose heart. God’s grace is sufficient, and the power of Christ does rest upon you. Believe it.

Thank you, Jesus, for the many roses. And, thank you, Lord, for the postholes and thorns. Think about it. May the Lord bless and keep you another week beloved. Amen.

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