Thorny problems and God’s love.


Over the Easter I found plenty of time to ponder what Easter was about and to pray. But the time to put those thoughts onto paper was very limited indeed. Tuesday, after Easter, I sat down to write, but within half an hour received some bad news that left my brain swirling for a few days. Today, I decided that what I started on to write was still needed to be said, but the other reason for this blog became clear.

On Saturday during the Easter period, I took some time to spend time to help my husband do some fencing. The barbed wire was particularly difficult as we restrained it and tied it to the fence post, after we had made room for a gate. I wore some gloves so that the barbed wire I handled would not pierce my hand and rip my skin. I stood looking at the tie after I had finished and checked my arms for cuts.

As I cut off the extra length that was not needed in retying it, I looked at the barbed wire in my hands and I remembered what my Saviour did for me. I let this thought sit for a moment while I went to boil the billy for a cup of tea.

The very fact that barbed wire and thorns do the same job on your skin made a great story line, but I was yet to find out why the barbed wire was necessary for me to notice. A few days later I would know why.


He took it upon Himself


In doing a little research after we arrived home, I found that it could have been one of about 3 or 4 plants that could have been used as the “crown of thorns”. The one most researchers used was the Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii). Apparently, it is thorny enough and flexible enough to make into a crown.

It was also interesting that God spoke several times throughout the bible about thorns. In Genesis thorns were a repercussion for disobedience.

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. Gen 5:17b-18 (NIV)

Later, God spoke thru Isaiah because he saw injustice and distress – Isaiah 5:6-7

“I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”

The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.” (NIV)

In dying on the cross, God’s Son took upon the curses, wrong doing (sin) and disobedience that we ourselves have chosen to walk by. Those things that destroy our lives and our relationship with God. The things that bring guilt and shame, hardship, and pain. A onetime act of God for the sake of all mankind.

This was not only in the cross that He died upon, but the stripes from the whip and the crown of thorns on His head. These things (and much more) were symbolic of a new start and a new promise of God that was completed by the death of His Son for us so that we could have this promise for ourselves – the ability to have the sin, shame and guilt taken from us and a relationship with Almighty God.

This crown was placed upon our Saviour’s head and on that cross He died so that we have through Christ Jesus the freedom from the curse of sin and death. No more guilt and shame.

And you know what the greatest thing about this is – we don’t have to wait for eternity for the work of God to change our lives so that our lives here today are transformed day by day. God want us to have a little bit of heaven on earth, while He walks with us every day.

Our past died on the cross with Christ. The curses that should have been ours was removed as well.

Guilt and shame, hopelessness and despair is something that you do not have to live with. We can be free because of God’s forgiveness and love.

It was the love of God for you that those thorns pierced His head and not ours. God’s offer to us, given in love, to allow us a changed life. The skin of His son broken by thorns so that our thorny broken lives could be changed – now and in eternity.


Thorny problems


Over the past few days as my emotions swirled around me in the chaos of the sudden life experiences. I was once again aware that thorny problems have a way of tearing at our emotions and it is our Saviour that we can turn to. There is nothing that He cannot helps us with and that He cannot understand.

The person who I received the bad news about had been like a thorn in my side, yet the need to intercede for the person in prayer was the only thing on my mind. It was like I needed my God more than ever. The fact that my Saviour knew how to forgive his enemies and was the epitome of forgiveness, was my comfort. Yet this person was never my enemy, just someone who regularly brought me to my knees in pray.

I could not pray for this person if I hadn’t forgiven them a long time ago, and remained forgiving every time they pierced me. If bitterness had clouded my heart, I could not have prayed with love. I could not have seen the person in the hospital and felt compassion and concern, if I had hardness.

The need to remind myself that God sees the thorns that pierce me and knows the pain of suffering more than me. I need to leave the thorns to Him. It is up to God to remove the thorns from my life, or to allow them to remain for my growth. This is hard. Especially when the person involved needs mercy when the world says that they need punishment.

I could repeat what I said before, but with a different twist – “It was the love of God for you that those thorns from His captors pierced His head and not ours. God’s offer to us, given in love, to allow us a changed life even while the thorns can pierce us as well. The skin of His Son broken by thorns so that each and every thorny broken life could be changed – now and in eternity.” (italics added)

Christ died not only for the curses of disobedience, but He died for the thorns that come against us in life. I pray that you will give the thorns to Him, He know what to do with them.

Be blessed.



Football Season

Football season is about to start for this year. Yep, see you all in September!!

I don’t mean sitting a watching football on the TV. I mean that my young men, my sons, play Rugby League. I will spend the next 7 months as taxi driver, nurse, cleaner, canteen volunteer, and their number one fan and cheer squad.

My two boys are at their first football training session this afternoon. I suspect that they are going to come home sweaty, stinky and exhausted. It is still very hot this afternoon, I also suspect that they are also going to come home desperately needing to shower and cool off.

One day, I asked both the boys what they enjoyed about playing such a rough sport. Their answers amused me. My eldest one said the fitness and the team comradery. My youngest one said that he got to smash other kids and to tackle. (note my pained expression) BTW, the picture that heads this blog is of my youngest son. He loves to tackle!!

As a footy mum, I will spend the next 7 months running the boys to various locations around our large district, and cleaning mud and dirt from their clothes, shoes and our car. I will buy oodles of strapping tape, painkillers, heat rub and food.

Oh… and did I mention food?

As I have said before God speaks to me through very simple things in life.

I am the type of mum that cheers them on in their pursuits in life, encourages them and pushes them to keep their commitments, all the while holding my breath every time they get injured. There are times that I turn away with tears in my eyes when I see them hit the ground and take their time to get up.

The Holy Spirit encourages me forward, helping me to my feet when I fall. Scripture floods my mind when I hurt and gives peace when I am troubled.

I watch the boy’s coach pat them on the shoulder, and encourage them to push harder. The coach will help them with their flaws and weaknesses and place them where their strengths are more like to be used to the max.

My Heavenly Father reminds me that I have made a commitment to Him, that my heart must remain in the game with Him as my coach. He will place me where He can help me in my weaknesses and where the strengths that I have are providing the best for those around me. He will also let me know when I have let the “team” down, and remind me that through Him I can do what He knows I can do.

While footy season to my sons, is about the team and the game, the season for me is about making sure they get their rest and pace their busy lives well.

Often to me life is about the everyday, making sure every family member is looked after and getting things done that I rarely seem to have time for. My Father -He knows the bigger plans. He is watching me and reminding me that I can rely on Him when I get exhausted, when I am in pain and when I simply do not want to run onto the field to play one more game. I watch as He paces my life and stops me from getting myself too busy.

This blog has just taken a turn…

My two sweaty teenage boys have come in and walk past me. Their faces are red and they complaining that they hurt all over.  Even as fit as they are, they are going to hurt tomorrow. I think my words to them were something like this – “You feel it now, but give it a few weeks and it won’t hurt anymore.”

I can feel God nod His head in my direction. “yes, Father, I too hurt.”

“I need you to do some training.”

Oops…didn’t think He noticed!!

So, before Him now I have handed Him two situations that are really hurting me right now. I feel the pain as He trains me in the area of forgiveness. I really wanted to leave it alone and pretend that by sitting on my backside it would go away.”

“Walk Ruth,” I hear Him say, “Walk with the decision to hand it over this that you carry. This is faith. Do you trust me to work through everything in your life? Even those that seem to have no change?”

(Oh my goodness.. those faith muscles again!!!)

“I have trained and trained in this area so many times, Father, nothing has changed. I have given it to you before.”

“Yes, but does it hurt as much this time.”


“Was it easier to hand it to me?”


“How is your faith?”

(I flex it, it feels stiff), ”Yeah..ok, I didn’t realise that I would be so stiff!”

“Remain trained in the area of forgiveness, never stop forgiving. Anger and resentment do not seem to cause you to be unfit, but it stops you from being your best. I will continue to enlarge your faith, until eternity, without this you will not continue forward.”

I know what He means. He is now silent. I am grateful for the best Coach, Counsellor, and God that shows mercy and knows me well.

While I know, there will be times when my children hurt and are in pain, I will be there for them. There are times they want to give up, but I will not let them. There are times when it is too early to get up, but I will pull there blankets off them and give them a hot drink to wake them. There will be times when the drive is long, but we will do it anyway.


Because every achievement is good and is better when you do it as a team. While they must play and train, I go through it will them.

My God does the same. He cannot walk this walk on this earth for me, but He is “doing this life with me”. He is fully here with me in everything.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

Be blessed