Giving Thanks For The Thorn in The Paint
17 Nov

Giving Thanks For The Thorn in The Paint

Does Your Car have a thorn in the paint? Old Red Sure does, the longer you own a car the more familiar you become with it’s thorn. In Old Red my 1985 Dakota for years I have struggled with it overheating and blowing head gaskets. Have I ever thanked God for that? This week I recycled this story at devotions at Somerset Assisted Living in Mocksville, NC, and no doubt it hit me where it hurts, like a thorn.

The Blessing of Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.

During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose annual holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come.

What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder.

“Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered aloud. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?”

The shop clerk’s approach startled her.

“I….I need an arrangement, “stammered Sandra. “For Thanksgiving?

Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?” asked the shop clerk.

“I’m convinced that flowers tell stories,” she continued

“Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out.  “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. ” Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”

Then the door’s small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, “Hi Barbara…let me get your order.”  She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses.

Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped…there were no flowers.

“Want this in a box?” asked the clerk.

Sandra watched for the customer’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers!?!  She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed. “Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.

“You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said as she gently tapped her chest.

“Uhh,” stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, uhh… she just left with no flowers!”

“Right…I cut off the flowers. That’s the Special… I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.

“Oh, come on, you can’t tell me someone is willing to pay for that?” exclaimed Sandra.

“Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today,” explained the clerk. “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.”

“That same year I had lost my husband, “continued the clerk,” and for the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.

“So what did you do?” asked Sandra. “I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly.

“I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and never thought to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask!; It took time for me to learn that dark times are important.

I always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.

“Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her.”
I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort.

I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

“Hey, Phil!” shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.

“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement … twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra doubtingly. “Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?

“No…I’m glad you asked,” Phil replied. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem.

He rescued our marriage.  Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from “thorny” times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific “problem” and give thanks to Him for what that problem taught us.”

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too… fresh.”

“Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time.

Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?” asked Sandra.

“Nothing.” said the clerk.

“Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me. “The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra.

“I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you’d like to read it first.”

It read: “Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant.”

Getting back to my cars thorns, they do put me right where God wants me, on my knees asking for help. This Thanksgiving maybe you have an uncle who is a thorn, or even a child or parent, they just put you on your knees. I’ve heard it said, “God rigged the world so we couldn’t do it without him, here is one of my favorite Thorn in my flesh stories.. I lived it.

Following Brian surgery I developed a staff infection under a plate they had placed in my scull..
A brain abbess had formed and I was fading fast in pain.. a thorn for sure.

The waves of pain were far worse than anything I have experienced before or since as my brain swelled under my scull about to explode my only hope was emergency brain surgery … they were rushing me in… then something happened in the Operating Room I’ll never know what but it delayed them..
They pushed me over into a waiting room.. for what seemed like an eternity..

That’s when he sent her… Romona Seacrest, She was a nurse in the Nero-surgery area who just happened to be in my Sunday School Class…She came in gently took my hand …she said nothing but I knew God had sent a comforting Angel with the thorn to get me through it. I thank God for that thorn now as the pain was for a moment, the grace of the messenger God sent has over-abounded in my life since. That’s the thing, Jesus knew on the cross, the pain He endured for those moments He felt was worth it to spend eternity with YOU!!!

I Thank God for the Thorns.

About the Author

Robby Dilmore Robby Dilmore
Robby Dilmore his radio name itself is an oxymoron (Christian Car Guy). Robby started working in car dealerships back in 1971, (over forty years ago), washing cars. He went from car washer to service, parts, sales and eventually worked up to Dealer Principle of a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Store in 1998, where he was when God called him to start The Christian Car Guy Radio Show in January 2006. One of Robby’s greatest joys is sharing devotions with the residents of Somerset Assisted Living in Mockville, NC behind his former dealership and Charing the CBMC (Christian Business Men’s Committee) there. He also has rejoiced in teaching the Special Needs Sunday School Class at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston Salem for many years. Robby has seen first hand the good the bad and the ugly of automobile service, parts, sales and finance business, and now The Lord has provided him with a chance to help folks around the world. The Christian Car Guy Radio Show is syndicated nationally on 27 radio stations with live streaming on the internet and podcasting available on ITunes and over 30 other outlets. His 30 second helpful tips feature, Stayin on The Highway is now also syndicated. Robby also hosts Kingdom Pursuits, another one hour live show on Saturdays that signed on in 2008 across the Truth Network. Robby has been interviewed for the Christian Car Guy perspective across hundreds of other radio outlets including the Fox Radio Network, Financial Life Line, The G. Gordon Liddy, and Lars Larson radio shows even a National TV appearance on Fox and Friends.The Christian Car Guy Web site provides Godly counsel with hundreds of articles on everything from gas saving tips to how to be a four stroke Christian. Robby’s articles have been quoted in blogs from the Los Angles Examiner to The Autoblog.NL Germany’s most popular Automotive Blog. Robby has been married over 25 years to his wife Tammy and has four Children, Leslie Brad, Robby III, Tess and Mariah, they are members of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston Salem Robby Loves to Speak locally in North Carolina as well as across The Country to have Robby at your event email him @ rdilmore@wtru.com or call Robby @ 336-909-2779 Mailing Address: Truth Broadcasting Attention: Robby Dilmore 4405 Providence Lane Suite D Winston Salem, NC 27106

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