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.
–Martha Snell Nicholson
The video below is about Steve Saint, missionary, and the son of Nate Saint who was murdered by Indians in South America decades ago. What marvelous lessons Steve is learning from what God has now given him! The thorn of affliction is simply a tool, used to bring us close to God, closer than we've ever been, or knew could be possible. He references the above poem.