(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Rose Among the Thorns
By Kyle Jane Heskett
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
– James 1:2-4 (NASB)
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this verse. When I wasn’t going through a hard time, this verse seemed so encouraging. But when I was in the muck and mire of struggle, having joy seemed impossible and I got tired of hearing about it. Even as a believer, it seemed like I couldn’t grasp the concept of joy. But all of a sudden, something change. I’m seeing things in a new light. God has revealed so much to me and I have been experiencing hope and joy. He can do the same for you. He can show you the beauty in your struggles. He can show you the rose among the thorns.
One thing I want to share with you is complete and utter surrender to God. Joy in trials does not mean happiness. Joy is surrender. It is the freedom you get when you stop trying to control everything. It is the hope you find when you recognize that God’s power has no limits. It is the knowledge you have that God will carry you through. This is a joy that no one can take away from you. Are you surrendering every part of your life to Him?
I always seemed to surrender most of my life to God, except one or two things that I was unwilling to admit I had no control over. I would lay in my bed and analyze these things, wondering what I could try the next day to help the situation, never finding any relief. Ladies, surrendering most of your life to God is not real surrender. The one or two things you may think are no big deal are stealing your joy. Complete surrender is uncomfortable, but look what happens when it is accomplished! When Moses surrendered his understanding, God helped him lead the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3). When David surrendered his lack of ability to protect himself, God gave him peace (Psalm 3). When Paul surrendered his persecution, God gave him hope and joy (Acts 16). And the ultimate surrender was when Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross for the will of the Father. Salvation was the beauty that resulted from His crown of thorns.
It is God who maintains your surrender. If you try on your own power, it will not last. Christian author Andrew Murray, expressed in his book “Absolute Surrender” how “a life of absolute surrender has its difficulties…Yes, it has something far more than difficulties: it is a life to which with men is absolutely impossible. But by the grace of God, by the power of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, it is a life to which we are destined, and a life that is possible for us, praise God! Let us believe that God will maintain it.” Surrender is a daily decision we must make to trust in our Father. It starts by saturating ourselves in His Word, spending time with Him, and not being afraid to pray powerfully. Let us trust that God will sustain us and accomplish what He has begun.
There is beauty in trials and when we see it, we are also able to see God’s loving and caring heart for us. It brings security and rest for our weary souls. It brings blessing from the Lord beyond our imagination. Life will not always be easy, but when we surrender and trust that God will work everything for our good, joy can’t help but overflow. Keep pressing in to His truth, beautiful children of God.
Romans 5:3-5 states “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”