So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have recently had the opportunity to work in a garden center. In the many tasks of caring for plants, I learned the necessity of pruning roses. One would think that a rose is so beautiful it couldn’t possibly need pruning, but pruning is vital to the health of the rose bush. It can be a painful process for the flower, but even more so for me if I am not careful around those thorns! Among other benefits, pruning helps encourage flowering. When the old dead flowers are removed they give way to new beautiful flowers.
As I pruned I realized that our life can be similar to that rose bush. As we progress through life we face difficulties. Sometimes the difficulties can be very painful. It doesn’t seem to make sense that we have to experience problems so often. However, Jesus told us very clearly: in this world you will have trouble (John 16:33). So since we can expect trying times, it is important to understand what those times are doing in us, if we allow God to work through them.
Our pruning, should we choose to keep our eyes on God will enable our faith to grow. Soon we start to become more like Jesus. We grow into an even more beautiful being, not afraid to face the prunings of life. Next time the clippers come out, rest in the strength God gives you and blossom.