Friday, March 09, 2012

The Thorns in Our Flesh

My 9 year old daughter asked me last night why she was different.  Puzzled, I asked what she meant and she said she looks different than other children.  “Well, you’re definitely more beautiful than most 9 year old girls,” I replied.  “No Daddy,” she said, “I have two teeth that haven’t even come in all the way yet, and it’s been a very long time.”

Two of my precious little girl’s top teeth have not yet come down as low as the others, so her teeth do not all line up properly.  Apparently, this has been making her self-conscious.  So I pulled down her Bible and opened it up to 2 Corinthians 12:7b-12 where Paul said:

“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.”

We also talked about 1 Samuel 16:7b:

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

For those of you who don’t know, I have had a scar of sorts on my right pinky finger since the 4th grade.  It almost looks like a large callous on top of the joint closest to the tip.  I have been very self-conscious about it and usually try my best to hide it from public view (although I guess that cat is out of the bag now!).  I told my daughter, being completely honest, that I would love for it to go away.  I’ve prayed, I’ve even seen doctors, but it is still there and probably will be for the rest of my life.  Sometimes “thorns” like this help keep us humble.  They help remind us that no matter what our current culture tells us, the worth of a human being is not measured by their outward appearance.  What we see as outward “flaws” really are nothing of the kind.  If anything, they keep us focused on what is really important; what we look like on the inside.

I told my daughter that in all likelihood her teeth will eventually grow in the rest of the way.  If they don’t by the time she has all her adult teeth, we can ask her dentist about it.  But in the meantime remember that in the eyes of God, she is as beautiful as she could be, just as she is in the eyes of her Daddy.

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