Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thorns and Pearls

Today's Gospel included Matthew's account of the Pearl of Greatest Price which truly was Good News for me to hear this morning:

"Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."- Matthew 13:45-46

(And I just happened to be wearing Grandma Strukely's pearls today, y'all! Look at that!)

I'm pretty sure women use and identify with this Gospel verse a little bit more than men. I know that is INCREDIBLY stereotypical of me, but Ima go ahead and say that women like being told they are the beautiful pearl that God is willing to sell everything for...though, it is an important message for men to hear, too. (You guys are beautiful and worthy too! :)  The analogy certainly applies to both. 

I needed to hear this Gospel today because I had been struggling with a particular "thorn" that has been placed in me for whatever reason.  Oh wait, I know the reason. God uses these "thorns" to keep us close to him. Allow me to explain...

For me, the "thorn" changes. In my earlier 20s, it was elements of my personality that I was struggling and grappling with. These things kept me humble and continually drew me to God in prayer. For a while it was employment and finding the perfect job that humbled me and had me going to God in prayer. 

Now, of course, it is not something exactly NEW but something that keeps me going to Him. I actually prayed today if He could take it away and give me a new "thorn,"  that would be swell. We'll see how He responds to that. But how very Pauline of me! My man St. Paul kinda did the same thing (kinda):

"Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth.
But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me...Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
8Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, 
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 

I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12: 6-10

St. Paul wins every.time. Right?

Despite the thorns He might give us, God loves us. It is important to remember we are always the treasured pearls that He has given everything for. 

So I'm showing off my pearls and embracing my thorns today and banking on God's Grace through it all.


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