Sunday, November 20

The Blessing of the Thorns

Maybe you've read this story before, maybe not. It is a wonderful reminder to be thankful. Enjoy!

Sandra felt as low as the heels on her shoes as she pushed against a November gust and opened 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 to say she could not come.

What was 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. “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?”

“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. 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.”

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. She thanked the clerk and left.

“Uhh...” stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, 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. 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.

“Are those for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “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 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, 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.” She smiled and handed a card to Sandra.

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

Sandra took the card and 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. ~George Matheson”

Jenny said, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra,” handing her the special. “I look forward to knowing each other better.”

Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door, and walked toward hope.

Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns. God bless all of you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.

*the author of this piece is unknown

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26 Responses
  1. Joan Says:

    Lynn - this is a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it.

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.


  2. That's beautiful, Lynn. Thanks for sharing.

  3. In the upside-down Kingdom, the thorns carry a beauty all their own.

  4. I had never read this story before. What a wonderful expression of how God permits the "thorns" in order to send us the "roses." God bless and happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Victoria Says:

    That story is such a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Never read this one before Lynn... a thinker...

  7. I have never read the story before either. After owning a flower shop for a good many years, I can tell you first hand how onery those stems can be, yet for other reasons, I thanked God for them. They meant my bread and butter. Each stem I cleaned meant food on my table. So, in another way, I too have been thankful for thorns.

    And I do agree, it is through the scary times we see God's direct intervention in our lives. I know this has been true in my own life.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  8. Dawn Wilson Says:

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss had a series called The Blessing of Thorns that included a message called "The Bouquet of Thorns." It's here:

    When I taught a Sunday school class a few years ago, I had a few of the ladies act this out, and one of the ladies brought some long-stemmed roses (minus the flowers) as one of the props. Great story.

  9. lynnmosher Says:

    Thank you so much, Joan! I appreciate it. Hoping you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving! Bless you!

  10. lynnmosher Says:

    So nice of you, Valerie! Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Bless you!

  11. lynnmosher Says:

    Beautiful thought, Jennifer! Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm honored. Have a great Thanksgiving! Blessings to you!

  12. lynnmosher Says:

    So happy to see you, Michael! Thanks so much for the comment. Praying you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be blessed!

  13. lynnmosher Says:

    Victoria, thank you so much for commenting. Makes my heart happy. Bless you!

  14. lynnmosher Says:

    Hey, Marja! It is thought-provoking, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving. Blessings to you!

  15. lynnmosher Says:

    Ceci, that would make it more meaningful to you. Thanks so much for your comment. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Bless you!

  16. lynnmosher Says:

    Dawn, thanks so much for the comment and the link. That is so cool about the video and that you had your class act it out. Awesome! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Be blessed!

  17. I love you, Lynn, and I love that story, and I know the hard and beautiful truth of those words, though they've left me in tears tonight. Thanking God for the thorns is hard this year, and yet I've learned to pause and breathe deeply of the moment, to seek His face and His beauty in each breath, to feel His joy in the midst of the pain, the fragrant rose rising from a stem of thorns.

  18. Mmmmm, well, my husband left 10 years ago. I'm still alone. My kids are struggling with their faith and . . . . it's taking me a while but I'm thanking God for the thorns. ;)

  19. This came at my from all different angles - I started out thinking I'm tired of the thorns - I really don't want to deal with them right now - because a thorn seems to be emerging (the crocodile under the bed) - I really needed this, to say, "bring it on God - 'cause I'm ready for another round of growing this grafting even closer!"

    Blessings on your Thanksgiving, Lynn! You ARE a blessing!

  20. I haven't read this story in years. It's such a powerful reminder. Thank you for sharing it, Lynn.

  21. lynnmosher Says:

    Thank you, precious Cindee, for your kind words. Praying for you. Abundant blessings to you!

  22. lynnmosher Says:

    Debby, I'm so sorry for your life issues. It is hard, isn't it? Praying the Lord blesses you with a special touch of His presence and eases your pain.

  23. lynnmosher Says:

    Maryleigh, you are a strength hero! You will always come out on top. May the Lord bless you in whatever you need.

  24. lynnmosher Says:

    Carol, isn't it a stinging story? Goes right to the core of our souls, doesn't it? Thank you, sweetie, for your comment. Bless you!

  25. Lynn - great reminder of how we must trust God with our disappointments and sorrows. He created the thorns as well as the blooms - and we must allow Him to bring the healing we desperately need. Awesome post...

  26. lynnmosher Says:

    Amen! You're so right, Deborah! Thanks so much. Blessings!