Blessings Out of Buffetings (2 Cor. 12:7)
by Alan Redpath
Are you a child of God for whom the sunshine has departed recently? Do you want it back? Life has become so hard and drab, so dry and uninteresting. Ah, but there was nothing lovely about the cross and the crown of thorns that God gave to the Lord Jesus, and I am sure that there is nothing lovely about the thorn that you have either. The cross seems so cruel and so dreadful. Your trial is all that, I am sure, almost too much too bear. But you notice Paul says, “…there was given to me…” — all the time I have been trying to thrust it away while the Lord has been handing it back to me, putting it on His hand and saying, “Take it My child, this is from Me.”
In Psalm 106:15 we read a tremendous statement: “He gave them their request, but sent leanness to their soul.” If you keep saying, “Lord, take this thorn away!” and you refuse to submit to the discipline of it, then maybe He will do that very thing and send leanness to your soul. God forbid!
An old saint of God prayed, “Lord, when wilt Thou cease to strew my path with trials and thorns?” The Lord answered him: “My child, that is how I prove My friends.” The saint replied, “Lord, perhaps that is why You have so few of them.” Yes, that may be the very reason. How often we seek to get out from under the pressure, out of the will of God, when all the time He is holding out His hand and saying, “Take this thorn from Me.”
When I was small, I used to get Christmas presents from my parents. Some of them I liked, others I disliked. I liked electric trains, kites, toboggans, and interesting things like these. But how I hated getting a pair of gloves–imagine a pair of gloves for a boy at Christmas! What an infliction. But these were the useful things, and the thorn in the mind of the Lord is the gift that is useful, that is necessary when it comes from Him. The Lord Jesus holds out His hand of love and says, “Here is the thorn, My child. Will you lift up your hand tremblingly, yet in faith and accept it? Look up as Jesus did when He said, ‘Father, not My will, but Thine be done.'”
A child asked her mom why it was that when the Lord Jesus came three times to His disciples in the garden and said, “Watch and pray,” the third time He did not say that; He just said, “Sleep on and take your rest” [Matt. 26:45]. Her mom was quite baffled to know the answer, and then the child said to her, “I think I know. It was because Jesus had seen the face of His Father, and He didn’t need their help any more!”
I trust that you have by now by faith looked into the face of your heavenly Father, and have said, “Most gladly will I glory in my infirmities!” At that moment you will begin to rejoice in the ministry of the thorn, and to see God’s glorious purpose for it, for while He is lavish in His riches of grace, He does not send any affliction unnecessarily to those He loves.
From Blessings Out of Buffetings, by Alan Redpath. Quoted in The Crossbeam, VOL.2 ISSUE NO. 28 at www.CrosswaystoLife.org
“Alan Redpath (1907 – 1989) was well known as a Bible teacher and preacher. He ministered around the world but particularly in the congregations at Duke Street, Richmond [England], Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh [Scotland] and Moody Church, Chicago. Upon his premature retirement from the pastorate, due to ill health, he commenced a 20 year worldwide itinerant ministry and lectured at Capernwray Hall.” – THE LIFE OF VICTORY A DAILY DEVOTIONAL TO LIFT YOUR SPIRIT, ed. Marjorie Redpath.
Grace Notes: September 2, 2004