Last night my seven-year-old son, Avry, couldn’t find his breathing medicine (his inhaler and spacer). It’s a daily struggle for him, even though we’ve given him his own container for it and a storage place in the family room. But he’s seven, and sometimes he’s acts like it. By losing things. We were late for bed so I added a few comments like, “How can I trust you if you can’t take care of it?” Maybe a quick frustrated, “Avry, this is ridiculous.” He walked around the house, his red hair wet from his shower, and his shoulders rounded in his own disappointment. But when I said, “Bring me your electronics,” the damn broke and the tears rushed in a fury. Because he knew what I was saying: those were gone until the medicine came back. And he was losing hope.
He slumped to the kitchen floor and leaned against the cabinets. He was nearly out of breath with tears, and I stroked his arm as tears fell down his pink freckled face. Afraid his brother would come down and turn this emotional moment into a duel of who can feel make the other brother feel worse, I guided Avry into my bedroom and locked the door. After all, I was aware my comments in frustration had propelled Avry into this moment of sadness (that and no tablet – the horror!) and I was trying to quell the tears before the great flood.
“How long am I going to have asthma?” he asked.
“I don’t know, baby.”
“It’s already been years. I don’t want to have asthma anymore.” He buried his face into his dad’s pillow.
I reminded him of his brother’s seizures and his dad’s bad back. To no avail. Then I pointed up to my giant chalkboard with the gilded frame and said, “Have I ever told you about the verse up there? The one about Paul?”
He shook his head with a sniffle.
Nearly a year ago God gave me 2 Corinthians 12:9 during my quiet time. I don’t recall why or what I’d been praying about in that season, but it’s been on my board ever since. (I’m more the girl who loves chalkboards but who’s too lazy to wipe them off and start over.)
I told him about how the Apostle Paul had some sort of ailment that was likely a debilitating challenge. I’ve heard ideas that maybe it was a stutter or maybe it was a health issue, but whatever it was, it gave him enough trouble that he felt it important to write about it in his second letter to the Corinthian church. AND it was a struggle so severe that he asked God three times to remove it. Three times might not sound like much. But when you think of the power of Paul–and that he’s been known to preach ALL night until unsuspecting people fall asleep and topple out of windows to their death–you know one prayer for Paul was EPIC (see Acts 20 7-17).
But the Lord said to him:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Avry was intrigued. He got up, turned on the light, and read the verse on the board. He didn’t believe me that the verse had been on my wall for so long.
“That’s new,” he said.
I assured him it wasn’t. But because it was relevant to him in that moment it felt new. And personal. A word just for him.
I explained that we all have something we carry that hurts us – whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual. And sometimes what we carry, what sticks in our side, is the very thing that brings us closer to God.
“If everything was perfect all the time and if we were perfect, why would we ever turn to God?” I stroked his back again. (He’s my boy so this is how he receives love. All the rubbing all the time.)
He nodded his head. I knew he was processing. I asked him if he wanted to pray together and he said no. He’s quiet and private about his prayers, and so as he lay there, I rested my hand on his arm and prayed over him silently.
Dear friend, I don’t know what thorn is sticking in your side, whether it’s an emotional, physical, or spiritual prickling, but I do know God will use it to bring you closer to Him if you can stay still long enough to let Him place His hand on you. Even if you can’t pray out loud, He hears you. Even if you’re certain He won’t remove that thorn and you’ve stayed quiet because you feel a “what’s the use” spirit, let me encourage you to ask. And ask. And ask. Because what happens in the asking is the gift of grace and the tethering of a relationship that will turn that thorn into a crown of jewels.Even if you’re certain He won’t remove that thorn, ASK... Encourage a Friend
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