Lutheran Church Extension Fund

The Psalms could be the thorn you need!

Monthly theme: Humility.

Reading time: two minutes.

I think the Apostle Paul would love the way we teach The Lutheran Wellness Wheel.

Our one word definition of Vocational Wellness is “Humility.” There’s joy to be found in the wondrous call of God to use frail, imperfect people like us in His kingdom service.

Maybe that’s why Paul would only boast about his weaknesses. When considering his thorn in the flesh, he said, “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” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

The thorn in his flesh was a great advantage to him in ministry. Because of his weakness, he relied always, completely on the strength of the Lord who said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (12:9).

I could wish for you a thorn in the flesh, but I won’t. I will make a suggestion, however.

The Psalms are a great way to begin the day. They’re like a thorn in the flesh.

Just as Paul’s affliction reminded him both of his weakness and of the Lord’s strength, I look for those same daily reminders early each morning when I turn to the Psalms.

In nearly every Psalm, I find some reminder of how desperately dependent I am upon the Lord’s mercy, comfort, protection, and provision.

Sometimes it’s a reminder of my fallen condition. “For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me” (51:3).

Sometimes it’s a reminder of how powerless I am in the conflict with principalities and powers. “Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy” (64:1).

Sometimes it’s just life itself that jumps up and reminds me of my mortality. “Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on balance they are nothing; together they are only a breath” (62:9).

Psalms that reveal my weakness serve as the thorn I need to stay humble.

Watch for the Psalms that remind you who you are.

Then watch for the “but” Psalms.

Don’t you just love how there always seems to be a pivot point in the Psalm, that after reminding us of our weakness, there’s a sudden turn, the “but” that turns our hearts toward the greatness of God?

Sometimes it’s the Creator’s power. “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed” (107:29).

Sometimes it’s the Redeemer’s mercy. “From the Lord comes deliverance” (3:8).

Always, a Psalm puts me in my place: safely in the care of One whose power and compassion are far greater than I can conceive.

Thorns and Psalms remind us of the word of promise we need each day: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Thanks for reading.