Today we’re going way back to the best days … the days of the 80’s. The days of big hair, neon legwarmers and cut t-shirts. And no doubt, the days of the best music ever. I’ll start the song, and I know you can sing it.

1988. The big hair band Poison.

Every rose has it’s thorn.
Just like every night has it’s dawn.
Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song.
Every rose has it’s thorn.
Yeah it does.

But why? Why does every rose have it’s thorn? Have you ever thought about that? Why did God create beautiful, delicious smelling roses to have pesky thorns? Thorns are there to protect the rose! This is the rose’s God-given protection from being eaten by all the predators attracted to it’s sweet fragrance. Because it is so sweet and so beautiful, it must be protected from danger, thus the thorns.

So yes indeed, every rose really does have it’s thorn. And these thorns are a good thing.

What is your thorn? What purpose does it serve?

Just last week we talked about Paul having a thorn which God refused to remove. Episode 1066 “That Continued Problem”. We learned that God’s grace is perfectly sized and just enough to cover anything and everything you are going through. But honestly it’s sometimes conflicting because yesterday in episode 1070 we learned about “The Offer of Healing” and how sometimes we don’t really want to be well because of our addiction to the pity, the pass, or the perks our illness gives us.

So God refused to heal Paul of this thorn in his side that was tormenting him, but Jesus is making sure we understand we must truly WANT to be well. So which is it, do we get healed, or do we not? Are we not healed because we don’t really want it? Are we being punished? Is this for a greater purpose than we understand?

There is no one answer.

Does Jesus heal? ABSOLUTELY!

Does God do the impossible on our behalf? YOU BET YOUR BUTT HE DOES!

Can you get in the way of God’s offers of healing and restoration? YIP. BEEP BEEP GIRL, MOVE IT.

Do some requests seem to go unanswered? Yes. But remember, no is an answer. And if God says no, there’s a greater purpose than a yes could possibly bring.

Sometimes we’re called to trust the ‘no.’ Sometimes we’re asked to believe what we cannot understand and lean into the all-knowing Almighty.

Paul struggled with a problem. We don’t know exactly what this problem was, perhaps a physical ailment, a mental challenge, or an internal battle, but whatever it was we know it tormented him. It was his torn. Nearly every translation of the bible refers to Paul’s problem as a thorn. Que the music Poison, “every rose has it’s thorn …”

Why? Why does every rose have it’s thorn? Not to punish it, to protect it!

Paul’s thorn wasn’t a punishment, it was his protection! 2 Corinthians 12:7 “So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.”

The danger to Paul was in becoming proud. If everything was so good in his life, he would potentially become conceited. God, in all of his wisdom, knew Paul was capable of great and mighty things, but he also knew the dangers of him becoming all puffed up in his own greatness. God knew Paul being conceited would hurt the purpose for which he was created. So, to protect him and all the goodness he had within, he was given a problem that continually humbled him.

And although Paul genuinely wanted to be made well, and asked God 3 times, God said no. Not as a punishment, but as a protection. This torn protected Paul from the greater danger of being conceited. So, he was humbled.

Could the problem you’re dealing with right now be for the same purposes? Purposes of protection? This isn’t a punishment, this is to protect the potential God has placed within you. What you have is precious. What you can do is powerful. But understand it is constantly under attack.

Why wouldn’t God just let you be wildly successful and make this look easy? Oh honey, haven’t you seen the enemy wreck havoc in lives that seem to have absolutely everything? Haven’t you seen the damage he can do in success? Haven’t you seen the touch of his darkness in the spotlight?

When you understand sometimes continual setbacks and struggles, failures and frustrations, are actually thorns that protect you from the dangers of your predator, then you can receive God’s grace that is indeed sufficient for you.

For 8 years I fought and failed. I tried everything to grow this dream God had placed within my soul to encourage others. It was the worst tango ever with 1 step forward and 2 steps back, and everything always in the red. On year 8 I officially gave up. I mean full on surrender, on my face, shameful disgrace quit. God wasn’t removing this thorn, and I felt I couldn’t continue on with it blocking me. I was constantly hurt by what others said, failed more than I succeeded, and never felt good enough.

And in this time of giving up, God showed me his power. Yes, that same power Paul spoke about through his thorn in 2 Corinthians 12. Now verse 8-10 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

If you’re in this place that I once was, this place of feeling like you just can’t go on if God doesn’t remove this struggle, I pray you too can see the perfection in God’s power at work right now. Without this problem, would you be listening today? If everything were easy, would you be here seeking God’s direction today? Or would you be proud .. proud of all you can do on your own and conceited in thinking you’ve always got what it takes?

That’s not who you are because honey, just like Paul, and just like me, you’ve got yourself a thorn. A thorn that humbles you. A thorn that makes things hard. A thorn that continually reminds you of your struggles. And although it doesn’t always look or feel like it, that thorn is God’s protection of all he has placed inside of you.

Every rose has it’s thorn, and every daughter of the King created to walk in a great purpose has her problem. Within that problem is God’s power at work. Within that problem is a humbling effect to keep us from running off with wild success into the pit of our enemy who prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour.

I’m going to tell you a little story I don’t often tell. It may not be for all ears, so proceed with caution. It’s a funny story, but slightly inappropriate.

As a really little girl, a woman once visited my home and asked me what I wanted to be. I proudly exclaimed with zero hesitation, “I want to be a stripper!” I don’t remember anything else about that conversation.

But you see, the night before I was watching TV, and there was a woman dancing on a table. I’m a full-fledged, flaming 7 on the ennegram, so I looked at that woman dancing on a table and I said “Daddy, what is she.” My Dad being the straight-shooter that he was said “honey, that woman is a stripper.” Okay, note to self, I want to be a stripper! This is my life goal!

As a 7 on the ennegram, we are the fun ones to be around, but let me tell you, we can be a hot mess without constraints. So, the good Lord gave me a thorn to protect me. Y’all I can’t dance to save my life. I’m tragically bad. Like a mix of Phoebe from Friends and Elaine on Seinfeld, and maybe a little Carlton from Fresh Prince, but I also inadvertently throw gang signs when I dance, so there’s that. I could mope around and ask why God didn’t give me the groove, but I know … it’s one of my thorns. He was protecting me and keeping me off the pole. Thanks God!

In all seriousness, God protects his girls! Today, let’s take a moment to thank him for the thorns in our lives that protect us from the intended harm our predator had planned. We are His precious rose, and we are protected!!!!!

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