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OVERCOMING THORNS WITH GRACE
by Rick McGrath
03/23/14
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OVERCOMING THORNS WITH GRACE


Recently I wrote a paper titled, “Roll Up Your Sleep Number Bed and Walk”. It was based on the Gospel of John chapter five versus one through eleven. The story was about a certain man who laid in wait for thirty-eight years to get his turn to enter the pool at Bethesda once the waters where stirred. The only catch was you had to be first to get in or your healing wouldn’t happen. The premises of the paper was that we as Christians often settle in to our beds of circumstances and dial up our sleep number of excuses becoming comfortable and willing to live with our circumstances whether it be physical, emotional or financial.

Though we are certain that we believe we believe what the Word of God tells us in the Bible, we are quick to make excuse for our lack of success, our physical and emotional illnesses and over all daily struggles in this life. Yes, we will share in the physical world sickness, set-backs and even death in due time. But what we don’t need to do is be willing to accept it or make excuses for why we are in the situation that we are in.
We even go to length to validate our infirmity and situations with scripture.

The one I hear most often comes from 2 Corinthians chapter 12 versus seven through ten. Paul speaks that he was given a thorn least he be exalted above the rest of the Apostles because of his abundance of heavenly revelations. He tells us the thorn came from Satan to buffet him. Paul doesn’t clarify what his thorn is other than to say that he is willing to take pleasure in his infirmity after asking three times for the Lord to remove his thorn because he heard the Lord say, “My grace is sufficient”. Paul understood that in his weakness he became strong.

While God’s grace is sufficient to help us endure whatever hardship that we struggle with, it isn’t a license to slump back and not complete the race we were created for. Paul, regardless of whatever the thorn was, continued to press on and in for the spreading of the Gospel message. We are called to do no less.

Reflecting on the recent death of my mother, I asked what can I take away from her life to give me better understanding of God’s direction for my life? My mother had stage 4 cancer for seven plus years. She truly had a relationship with the Lord that transcended the physical world. Though she had breast cancer, had her breasts removed, she refused to allow the situation given her by the physical world to affect her walk with the Lord or daily life. Looking at her you wouldn’t know she was eighty-two years old and had cancer. She was as sharp as a tack and if it wasn’t for some arthritis in her knees she could keep up with the best of them. She was a real example of “His grace was sufficient”. She didn’t let her infirmity get her down or slow her down. For seven years she surprised everyone, laughing and joking about still being here. Up until the final few days did she sound much different from the previous years of conversations we shared. In fact I had spoken to her three or four days prior and she was still sharp though she said she felt a little more tired than usual. I was surprised when I called back a day or two later and my sisters who lived with her informed me that she was in her final moments in this world.

The reason for sharing this with you is because I believe it is an example of what Paul was trying to communicate to the people of his time and ours. Paul was saying that no matter what the circumstance is we should press in to the spiritual realm where God’s grace is more than sufficient and with that grace we can overcome and continue to be the witness and testimony to others seeking the truth of salvation. .

The Word of God says, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”. Not just some things, but all things!

By Rick McGrath, Ph.D.


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Member Comments
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Phyllis Inniss  25 Mar 2014
Your article is certainly one of encouragement. We can learn much from those who have ill health or impediments and still persevere to serve the Lord and fill their lives with beauty and grace. Sharing this testimony of your mother's determination despite her illness and the impact it had on you will certainly encourage others to rise above challenges they may face.




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