Specific Text: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
What comes to mind when you think of the things God has given you? Family, friends, comfortable home, nice things, good food? Would you add goatheads to this list?
Goatheads are probably one of the worst aspects of living in the Yakima Valley. They ruin bicycle tires, make it hard to take the dog for a walk, and pretty much eliminate going barefoot anywhere except for on the lawn or sidewalk. There is nothing good about goatheads, right?
But today Paul reminds us that God provides you with goatheads. In high school chapel last week, we learned that God provided Jonah with good things, like a great fish to save him from drowning, and a leafy plant to provide him shade in the hot desert sun. But God also provided the storm that sent Jonah overboard, the worm which devoured the shade plant, and the scorching wind that drove Jonah to his knees. Often times God provides you with good things, but sometimes, He provides you with goatheads.
But when God gives goatheads, which is exactly the way Paul describes it in verse 7, He's not doing it just to spite you or make you miserable, just like His intention was not to ruin Jonah, rather it was to remind him of his dependence upon God. Often times it's through the painful struggles in life that you see God the clearest, and it's in these times when you are reminded to rely totally on God. Look at how Paul puts it in v10:
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)
Goatheads are probably one of the greatest reminders of the curse resulting from Adam's sin. You live in a fallen world, and as you encounter life's goatheads, remember the promise that Jesus made to Paul, and also makes to you:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)
Prayer For The Day: Father God, thank you for all that you give to me. Thank you for the good things in my life - you have given me so much and blessed me beyond all measure. But also thank you for the thorns you provide in my life. Help me to recognize them and realize that through them you are causing me to cling tighter to your Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.