"They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?"
~ Martin Luther ~
Over my years in ministry, I have met many people who cry out to the Lord at the least bit of trouble in their lives.
“Deliver me from this pain and suffering, Lord,” they cry, tears streaming down their faces. But when the Lord doesn’t deliver them, they become angry or fearful, believing that God really never loved them in the first place or that there is something wrong with their faith. Some slip away from the Lord. Others become rebellious, acting out like children.
Our first inclination is to want to be free from the pain in our lives. We squirm and struggle under God’s hand, forgetting or ignoring that He might be doing something deeper and more lasting than a “surface” miracle.
Dr. Richard Dobbins of Emerge Ministries in Akron, Ohio put it this way: “Until the pain of change hurts less than the pain of staying the same, people prefer to stay the same.”
Did you catch that? Most people don’t make lifestyle changes until after they have been diagnosed with diabetes or after a heart attack. It takes the pain and fear of the future to make us take hold of the here and now and make it the best we can.
Think about it. The pain we are going through might be the very catalyst God needs to use to make eternal changes in our lives. Without that pain, we might never be at the place spiritually to make the necessary changes in our hearts. Instead of taking us out of the pain, He changes our hearts and causes us to grow THROUGH the pain.
Sure it is easier to walk a rose strewn pathway, but I’ve noticed in my own life that when I walk the rosy path, I soon get so accustomed to smelling the wonderful fragrance of the flowers along the way. It takes a wake up call from God to remind me to breathe and smell the wondrous scent of His presence with me again.
Perhaps the lesson in this week’s quote is this: the pain Jesus endured each day here on earth (through the actions of others against Him and because of the sin all around Him) helped to keep Him focused on God and the great love He has for His creation. We will always accomplish more while wearing the thorns than wearing the roses, even though they hurt less…
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