Blessing in the Thorn


“Life is hard, the world is cold.
We’re barely young and then we’re old.
But every falling tear is always understood.
Yes, life is hard, but God is good.”
—Christian vocalist Pam Thum

“Life is difficult.”
—M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

“Man is of few days, and full of trouble.”
—Job 14:1

“In the world you will have tribulation.”
— John 16:33

YES, LIFE IS HARD. It’s difficult. It’s full of trials and problems and tribulation. Not always, of course, but often enough. And sometimes, it’s more than difficult—it’s overwhelming and seems unbearable.

Until the great battle between good and evil is over, no one can promise you a rose garden, a bed of roses, or even a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

But you and I have a choice. We can either choose to lament that roses have thorns, or we can choose to be grateful that thorns have roses. The thorns of tough times in our lives are always accompanied by roses of blessing. And we’ll find them when we learn where to look.

A few years ago, a great blessing came into my life. I was diagnosed with cancer. Yes, the thorns were sharp and painful: four surgeries in two years, chemo, radiation, great personal loss, physical and emotional wounds that would take much time to heal. But in the thorn was also great blessing. I emerged from that battle with my priorities reordered, with a new appreciation for the golden value of each moment of life, and with a stronger faith in my Creator.

Some days, too weak even to move and fighting to ride out pain that even medications could not fully control, I clung to the message of a song that I would play over and over again (hear this song by playing the MP3 at the end of this post). Some nights, feeling utterly alone and fearing I might not survive to see another morning, I was comforted by the song’s words:

“When does the thorn become a blessing?
When does the pain become a friend?
When does the weakness make me stronger?
When does my faith make me whole again?
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn.”

The thorn of cancer did indeed contain a blessing. Many blessings, actually. Not in an eternity would I have chosen to experience cancer. But when it came, I not only felt the deep wound of its thorn but the deep blessing of its power to transform me in ways profound, needed, and many.

As you read these words, I’m keenly aware that you too know what it is to encounter tough times in life. Perhaps you’re in the midst of one right now—a trial that threatens to overwhelm or even destroy you.

Maybe you are wrestling with financial problems that seem too large to solve. Maybe you’re seeing—or have already—the ending of your marriage. Perhaps you’re trapped in a dark void of grief or depression. Or perhaps you too face a frightening health crisis.

Tough times invade every area of our lives. We can’t escape them. But we can learn how to get through them to the other side. We can learn how to hang on to our faith and our sanity even when the winds of trouble scream through our lives with hurricane-force destructive power. We can learn how to survive—to discover that dark clouds DO have silver linings—and that thorns too have roses.


Click on the title below to listen:

“Blessing in the Thorn”
—by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, from the album “Where Strength Begins”


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by apokla jamir on August 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

    am really touched after reading your life has always been full of trails and tribulations but those dark hours never discourages me because i knew jesus loves me and he is making all these happens for a good reason..keep the faith


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