Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Thorn-Removal Is Not Necessary

Today I listened to the most wonderful recording at this website, from a woman named Jennifer Rothschild. Her message is called "Why Such Grace?" Please go listen! (Scroll down a little.)

I needed Jennifer's words. Because of an eye disease at the age of 15, she went legally blind. She has a permanent trial in her life, a burden. As the Apostle Paul would call it:  a thorn.

She says that she doesn't ask God to heal her eyes, to restore her sight. I've heard Joni Earickson Tada say the same -- that she doesn't desire for her paralysis to be healed. She's lived with it a long time. It's a huge part of what God has done/is doing in her life. It's been His tool to work magic in her soul. She doesn't want to lose that.

But Jennifer gave me a different reason, one I could relate to. She says she doesn't ask for healing, but for contentment. That's because if God healed her eyes, but she wasn't content first, then she would soon just find something else to be discontented about. Isn't that true? So true! I was listening to her and thinking, "How does she know my heart?" My main, huge, deep issue is contentment. And discontent is a result of distrust. I don't trust God that He knows what's He's doing in my life, with my life.

Life stinks right now in many ways, period. I wake up each morning, and briefly remember where we're at, and my heart sinks. Every. Morning. I hate it. I'm discontented.

Jennifer challenged me brutally to face up to my discontent and lack of trust in God. Am I willing to put aside my worry and emotions, and trust Him with all that's going on?

She also mentioned the Apostle Paul, and his urgent request to God to remove his "thorn in the flesh" -- the thing that was abusing and disconcerting him. He longed for God to take it away. But God didn't. Thorn-removal wasn't what was necessary for Paul; he needed to learn how to live his life in Jesus, with his thorn. Or with blindness. Or with cancer. Or with depression. Or with unemployment. Or with poverty.

Jennifer didn't shy away from how much it hurts. She didn't pretend that it's easy. She says it's harder for her mom, for whom her blindness is still (as she describes it) "a wound." Wounds hurt. Thorns smart for a lifetime. And the point is not their removal.

Is it possible to accept this? I hope so. I want Jennifer's peace and contentment.

1 comment:

  1. MK,in the beginning of my chronic pain (almost 6 yrs. ago) I woke every morning with severe discouragement. I could hardly make myself get out of bed for fear of the pain I'd face that day. Trust has been my biggest challenge and lesson. I have much fewer mornings now where discouragement reigns. My trust continues to grow. The Lord has allowed just enough of my pain to remain to keep me seeking Him. If my pain was completely gone - I'd be off doing my own thing (and I have a long list I'd finally get to do if I had no pain) and I wouldn't be seeking Him! I absolutely love my times with the Lord - He has shown me so much of Him in recent yrs. I praise Him for using my pain to rein me in and draw me near. I long more and more for heaven - less and less to be pain free and more and more to be with the Lord Who is teaching me to love Him more and more. Hang in there MK. Keep seeking Him - He will hold you tightly - Ps. 139:5 Love you, Sharon


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