The Thorn

The Thorn
by Martha Snell Nicholson

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”
He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.”
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.

The God of Peace With Me

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, 
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

Chronic illness is hard. It’s isolating and draining. At times, my circumstances overwhelm me, and I cry… a lot. I recently remembered this post and printed it out again to keep my focus on the truth. It helps the tears to slow. I’m reposting it now with the hope that it will help someone else as well.

A pdf version of the original post is provided at the end of the post for anyone desiring a printed version.

Dwelling on these truths when I am discouraged or distressed may feel mechanical at first. However, the Holy Spirit uses them to remind me that God knows what He is doing, loves me, and is trustworthy. I can rest as a weaned child does with his mother (Psalm 131) because the God of peace is with me.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9

pdf version of this post (12 pt. font): Dwell on What is True

pdf version of this post (16 pt. font): Dwell on What is True (Large Print)

Sorrowful, Yet Rejoicing

I love to laugh; there is something about it that just feels good. Smiling is also a pleasant sensation, especially when an unexpected delight grabs my attention. These “feel good” times are still part of my life, but they come far less frequently than in the past, which distresses some who know me. It seems they think I have little joy. The thing to note is this…

It is true that my face does not smile as much as it used to; I am not sure the smiling muscles work when my head hurts, my brain is foggy, and my energy is null. However, my soul is smiling; it is praising God for my salvation.

(Learning to Be Content)

In this way, I am “sorrowful, yet rejoicing” as Paul was (2 Cor. 6:10). He had experienced many trials (2 Cor. 6:4-9), but knew that his salvation was his source of joy. Peter knew this as well:

…who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials…

(1 Peter 1:5-6, bold font mine) 

Jesus had joy while He suffered on the cross because He knew the joy of heaven was coming (Heb. 12:2). Although this joy comforted Him, my guess is that He did not have a smile on His face while nails were pierced through His hands and feet and His lungs were collapsing. 

My suffering has caused me to turn my eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2). He is not only my example for how to rejoice, but also my Savior. I rejoice in the God of my salvation with a smile in my soul.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Made for Another World

The mother rabbit stared at me, blades of grass extending from both sides of her mouth, as she waited to place the final covering over the nest she had recently made for her newborns. Confident that it was safe to proceed, she gently worked to secure her babies into the bed of her own fur. My heart soared as I watched this tender act of love.

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In All Things

I recently posted the following message on my FaceBook page: ** Coronavirus Alert ** Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible. My reason for doing so is the same as for this post. My impression is that many Christians are misled on what is important in our current situation with the coronavirus.Read More »

Be Safe

As I prepared to end the phone call, the salesperson said, “Be safe.” I thought this was odd since I hadn’t heard this phrase used in impersonal conversations. However, it is now common to my daily life, including the plethora of emails I receive each day that close with “Be safe.” I find myself wondering what each person is actually suggesting I do to be safe.Read More »

Your Will Be Done

With a highly contagious virus roaming the earth, I find myself resisting. I have been sick for the past several years and am just starting to climb out of the pit of pain and fatigue. My fleshly desire is for the slowly progressing momentum to continue so that I can regain enough function to return to some of my former activities. The prospect of contracting a virus that would tax my body and likely reduce it back to a quivering lump of jelly is not my will. Yet…

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Sinful Discontent

Current events and the resulting “at home” status in many areas of the world tempt us to desire other than what we have. We want to be able to choose where we go, when we can go there, and what we can do once we get there. However, we must remember key truths about God in order to prevent sinful discontent from sprouting and flourishing. My intent is to briefly examine these truths over the course of several blog posts.

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Dwell on What is True – Continued

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

Current events tempt us to become discontent and afraid, but a focus on biblical truths helps a believer to compose and quiet the soul. This written list reminds me of what I know to be true and prompts right thinking. I am republishing it now from a previous post after hearing from several who are afraid during this time. A pdf version without links is provided at the end of the post for anyone desiring a printed version.

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