Saturday, September 27, 2008

Discernment and thorns

How do you know when to quit and when to keep pushing forward? How do you discern when closed doors are supposed to be closed and when you should pick the lock? What do you do when the doors you can't go through are open, beckoning you to come through?

It's difficult. It always is. But it is especially disconcerting when it seems to make no sense which doors are nailed shut and which remain open despite your best efforts to close them.

And then there is the persistent thorn in the side. You know the one that runs so deep it becomes a physical ache, and you reach for the Motrin even though you know that's not the kind of medicine that will heal this thing. Prayer doesn't seem to help. Nor do tears. Nothing helps, not really.

Not even when you get whacked over the head with a 2x4:

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, [1] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ESV

2 comments:

Rachel Pierson said...

Dear Dear Kamilla,

Thank you for sharing this. I know that I have sat in the middle of this quandry before, and have been muddled. It's like trying to see through muddy glasses. I really like your pictures, because it makes it clearer for me. I hope this helps me in the future.

In the first place, thank God that He has made clear that the open door is for you. I have seen many go through that open door, to their own heartache. (me, for 1)

Secondly, Abraham picked the lock. David picked the lock. Rachel picked the lock. Joseph didn't; Daniel didn't; Esther didn't. If you haven't got the key, and the door is locked (make sure it's locked). Knock, and ask God whether this is the door for you. I don't think breaking and entering is the answer, and never has been. Come back and check the door from time to time, and knock if it is still locked, but don't live on the doorstep. Most importantly, ask God for discernment in this area. Seriously. He will make things clear, like He did for Paul. He doesn't want you to be gone when someone answers the door, and He doesn't want you to live on the doorstep if there is no one home. Ask, and He will freely give, without finding fault. His grace is sufficient for you.

The pain of a thorn, is so hard. I'm sorry for your thorn. And yet, where does that thorn take you? Thanks be to God, that torn still takes you to His loving breast!

I am praying for you. I want you to be filled with the joy of the Lord.

James has some of the hardest and sweetest words for me. Your post calls this to mind:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1)

Rachel said...

*In the first place, thank God that He has made clear that the open door is for you.*

So sorry! I meant, "...is not for you..."

Don't go through the open door that is contrary to Scripture. If, however, it is not contrary to Scripture, but only contrary to your fickle tastes, well...

Sorry again, I need to proofread better.