Word For It. . .

2Chronicles7:14-“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Thanksgiving Thorns

Posted by wordforit on November 11, 2007

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a “minor” automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.

Troubles had multiplied.

Her husband’s company “threatened” to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend suggested that Sandra’s grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder. “Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered. “For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child’s?”

“Good afternoon, can I help you?”

Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. “I . . . I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.

“For Thanksgiving? I’m convinced that flowers tell stories,” she continued. “Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”

Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer,

“Hi, Barbara, let me get your order.” She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.

“Do you want these in a box?” asked the clerk. Sandra watched – was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, “Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . . she left with no flowers!”

“That’s right,” said the clerk. “I cut off the flowers. That’s the ‘Special’. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today,” explained the clerk. “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk. “For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel.”

” So what did you do?” asked Sandra.

“I learned to be thankful for thorns”, answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, ‘Why? Why me?!’ It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”

Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

Just then, someone else walked in the shop.

“Hey, Phil!” the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.

“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement . . . twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?”

“Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced,” Phil replied. “After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from “thorny” times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific “problem” and give thanks for what that problem taught us.”

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

” I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life,” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too . . . fresh.”

” Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment.

“I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please”, she managed to choke out.

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”

” Thank you. What do I owe you?”

” Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.”

It read:

“My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.”

Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns.God Bless all of you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.”

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and Duct tape. God did it with nails.

***********************************************************************

God’s Blessings on You.

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4 Responses to “Thanksgiving Thorns”

  1. gypsygirl said

    I loved reading through this post.. It makes me smile and cry at the same time.. I’ve been through some rough times this year, and I have again and again questioned, why, until it drove me nearly insane.. But slowly, I’ve come to accept the sorrows, the thorns.. I realised that whatever good happened to me all these years, happened for a reason, and so did the misfortunes. I’ve learnt to rise above the circumstances instead of condemning them. This post reinforced my resolve to take all that God showers on me, with a smile.. Thank you Odale! :)
    ***********************************************
    It makes my heart feel good that you have found a blessing in this, gypsygirl. When bad things happen, it really tests our faith (not to mention sanity;-). I remind myself of Job’s undeserved, horrible trials and what was done to Jesus for our sakes… makes it all seem easier to deal with. I haven’t gotten to a point of posting about losing two brothers, one under suscpicious circumstances, with a wife and three children left behind, and the other brother straight-out murdered, and the perpetrator has never expressed remorse. It was like evil delivered on the doorstep. The reason I bring it up is that I have had to watch my mother rise above this and if she can withstand those two incidents, along with other matters along life’s way, I can’t be a sissy! We really are a testimony to others without realizing. We gotta stick together!
    Please don’t let the things of this world have any kind of control…we’re only here temporarily. That goes for me as much as anyone! You’re in my prayers and may God give you strenght beyond measure, gypsygirl.

  2. timbob said

    Greetings. The trial of our faith works patience and all things work together for good to them who are in Christ. May we rejoice in the Lord in the good times and in the times of trying.

    Have a blessed day in Jesus.

    timbob
    *******************************************
    Romans 8:28! Amen!! Human nature…when we need Him most we get “mumped up” and have tantrums…How I have learned better! :-) Thank you, timbob, it’s always good to hear from you and I’m glad you caught a few minutes to visit! Like you, seems like my time has run shorter lately…God Bless and Keep You!

  3. marlajayne said

    Great reminder to be grateful for everything we have. In fact, sometimes I think the misfortunes make us that much more appreciative of the good things we have going on for us IF we are receptive to that idea. My mother used to have this book entitled A Weeping Eye Can Never See, and although I’ve never read it, I’ve thought about the title quite a bit because it’s so true! When we’re so caught up in pity parties, we fail to see all of the beauty and wonder around us.
    ************************************************
    Hiya’ Marla Jayne! Glad to see you here! Is our work getting in the way of blogging, or what?! ;-) I have so many posts started and can’t seem to get time to finish, then something catches my eye that seems more important…

    Sad thing about pity parties is that no one else wants to come! ;-) I’m sympathetic until someone will not accept resolutions or gets nasty…

    You’re so right about how good life has been to us, especially in this country. When we think things are bad, it’s easy to find someone else overcoming much worse. Did you read the essay in the “Last Trumpet” link? If not, please read that! It’s a lot to think about…I was aware of a few things but learned much more. I truly do hope more will get sincere with Jesus very soon.
    I like the book title, too! Do you have the book? I love that you’re always reading and interested in so many things. So much to consider… God’s Blessings on You, Marla Jayne.

  4. marlajayne said

    You know, I’ve also noticed that sometimes people get really nasty. So far I haven’t noticed that on my blog, but if it happens, I’ll delete those comments right away. I don’t want any negative energy on my space if I can help it.

    No, I haven’t checked out the Last Trumpet link, but I will.

    Yes,work is interfering with blogging. Today I actually took a mental health day just so I could catch up with the discussion boards of my five internet courses. Can you believe it? I’m not complaining…just stating a fact. After my son finishes school and we manage to sell the other house,I won’t have to tackle so many extra assignments, but in the meantime, I’m thankful for the opportunity to earn the $$.

    The book title of Musings of a Missionary Mom? Is that the one you’re referring to? If so, then yes.

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