Embracing the “Thorns” in Our Lives…

Here is something I had written in my journal a few months ago. This should give the reader an idea about what my blog posts will be like.

 Thorn

“I know who you are and I don’t like you! Put me through to your CEO ‘cause I don’t feel like talking to you!”

This is how the customer on the other end responded when I answered the phone in the call center at my job. I have dealt with this customer before. Annie (not her real name) has something against me because of something I said (or how I said it) a few years ago. This is not the first time she has responded to me in this manner.

I continued to remain polite and transferred the call. A few minutes later, Annie calls back, infuriated that she was connected to me again, and demanded to speak to someone else. I mentioned that I was the only one on call, which seemed to be the signal for Annie to erupt in making insults and condemnation upon my head. She then slammed the phone down.

I sat at my desk, staring at the phone in disbelief. Even though this is a job, it is tough when you are at the receiving end of harsh verbal barbs – even more so when you’re not quite sure why you deserve it.

Afterwards, anger replaced shock, which later transformed into indignation and hatred. My Adamic predisposition was kicking in again in all its sinful ugliness. But I had to remember who I was in Christ and put the old self back in the grave!

After work, while traveling home, I questioned in my heart as to what purpose God would be using this in my life. I then remembered a small portion from the book “The Calvary Road” by Roy Hession. The author explained how God allows different circumstances and even people into His children’s lives to work out death in the flesh (essentially doing the work of the Cross in our lives). Then, by God’s grace, as we choose to yield to Christ each time, Jesus’ life would shine through our cracked selves. In many ways, it’s Galatians 2:20 coming to life:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (NASB)

So I thanked God for her. I thanked God that in His sovereignty He put Annie in my life to be a thorn in my side for the purpose of preventing me from exalting myself (although unlike Paul, I had no heavenly visions – see 2 Corinthians 12:1-6). Through it all, I am learning to see that God’s grace is more than sufficient. For when I am weak, then I am strong! (2 Corinthians 12:10f)