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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo

Enduring thorns: Starting the year leaning into the grace of God

God still works through cycles of pain

Another semester, another season, another year. 

For some, the prospect is exciting. For others, 2024 is one more spoke on the wheel of a seemingly unending cycle. The stress, pain, perfectionism or sin you may face is the only constant of a long week. Worn out prayers pour barely whispered from chapped lips.

But sweet friend, we do not walk alone.

The apostle Paul wrote once of his own thorn in the flesh, a burden the Lord did not lift from his heart. And still he found God’s voice, running like honey throughout his life.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, “I asked the Lord three times about this [thorn], that it would depart from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me” (NET).

If God’s love feels as stale to you as the near-frozen water of January lakes, take heart. If tears flow down your cheeks like spring creeks overflowing, do not hide your face. His strength and his grace are not far off. You are not defined by this burden, but by the power of Him who is perfect in your weakness, perfect in your pain, perfect in your time of trouble.

You were not meant to carry your thorn on your own. The power of Christ has the strength to renew you, even through the burdens this world may lay upon your soul. 

If the challenges of this season of life are overwhelming, know this is indeed the day the Lord has made and morning by morning, His mercies are new. You need not wear your shame. Your trials may not end in this moment, but you were not meant to be defeated by them.

It’s as Paul continued in 2 Corinthians 12:10. “Therefore,” he wrote, “I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (NET). 

Falling fast at the feet of Jesus, your strength and purpose can be renewed. The Savior came to break the cycle of death and pain, and though, as Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:10-11, you must suffer a little while, Christ did not come to abandon you in our trials. Your prayers are heard. Your cycle is breaking if you would learn to lean into the love and the strength and the heart of Christ.

There’s a reason Christ wore a crown of thorns upon his brow when he went to the cross to bury our sin. The cycle of hurt, of sin and of constant striving was broken when he rose from the grave. There is hope, my friend. The frozen water is breaking. There is honey in the land God has promised you, and water in the rock for the journey ahead.

Beautiful Savior, our hearts are so heavy with the exhaustion of our burdens. Our thorns are piercing, yet we turn to you knowing you have already carried them on your head. Teach us to find contentment in our weakness. Teach us to lean into the grace and the strength and the power you offer. Thank you so much for your sacrifice. Thank you for holding what we cannot. Amen.