There’s Cactus in My Cast!
While my arm was in a cast this summer, there were numerous times that I declared to my husband, “There is a cactus in my cast!” Having a broken arm was not the way I had intended to spend my summer. However, God always has something to teach me no matter what the circumstance might be and this experience has been no different.
Having a broken bone was a first time experience for me, but most likely some of you can identify with what I am sharing today. During the healing process, I felt many different sensations within my arm. The one I want to blog about today is what I called its “prickly personality.” There were times when my arm felt like it was being pricked and poked by plenty of porcupine quills. No matter how I held my arm I could not convince the porcupine to crawl out of my cast. I knew these quivering quills would eventually quiet down, but in the meantime it did not mean that I liked these sensations. I was reminded of Paul’s words in II Corinthians 12:7-10.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a
thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times
I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect
in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my
weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why,
for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Although my experience has been very minimal compared to what Paul endured, I find comfort when I think about my “porcupine quills” and Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Both were uncomfortable, yet both could be used by God for His glory. I have had to rely upon God and other people to do for me what I have not been able to do for myself with only my left hand. When I am weak, God is strong and He often provides help through other people. At other times, God simply gives me the grace and patience to endure the limitations. Now the cast has been removed and I am having physical therapy, I definitely say that when my arm is weak, God is strong.
How about you, my Reader? Are you currently experiencing an uncomfortable situation in your life? The intriguing factor regarding Paul’s thorn in the flesh is that we are never told what his specific thorn was. Since we do not know what Paul’s thorn was, it makes it easier for us to personally identify with the sufferings of Paul. We can each give our thorn the name suited to our need. Most likely my thorn or porcupine quill has been different from yours, but that does not matter to God. He is willing and able to help in any situation. Your cactus spikes may be annoyances such as the neighbor’s dog that barks every time you go outside in your yard. The quills may be the words of a co-worker who always has to have the final say in any work related discussion or the words of an egotistical relative. Your cactus spikes may be caused be bigger issues such as health concerns, financial burdens, loneliness, fear, disappointment, etc. You may be wondering why God has not delivered you from your misery. You may be wondering why God does not release you from your constant irritation just like I had to endure the continual prickliness in my cast. My Reader, be assured God’s strength is there for your weaknesses and struggles just like He has been there for the irritation I have felt.
Some of the pricks you may be feeling could actually be from the Lord. He may be teaching you a lesson or showing you something you need to change in your life. In my case, the sensations of pins and needles in my arm were a good thing. And you know what? When my cast was removed, there was no cactus in my cast! All these sticks and pricks were internal tactical sensations that I was feeling. Nerves were coming back to life and healing was taking place in my arm. Paul asked God three times to remove his thorn in the flesh. God did not remove it, but He did give Paul the ability to live with it. God may not always answer our prayers in the way we desire, but He does always answer our prayers in the way that is best for us. For me, if God had taken away all the prickliness He may have also had to diminish the quality of healing for my arm.
The prickly personality of my arm has disappeared. I no longer have a cactus in my cast and I no longer have the cast on my arm. However, as long as my arm was wrapped in a fiberglass cast, I wrapped myself in the promises of God found in His Word. It was like I had Jesus on the inside of my cast working to manifest His power to heal and His grace to endure. With Jesus on the inside, I was never outside the realm of His presence. The same can be true for you.
My Reader, do you have a broken bone or a broken heart? Can you identify with the prickly personality of a cactus in your cast? If so, cast all your cares on the Lord because He cares for you according to I Peter 5:7. Cactus quills and thorns in the flesh may be experiences for all of us, but God is still with us according to Matthew 28:20. Our weaknesses give God the opportunity to manifest His strength in our lives.
Weekly Reminder: Thorns of the flesh – Thorns of the flowers
Thorns and beauty often go together. Look for the beauty in your thorns of the flesh.