Thorn in my Flesh

I fundamentally get that we are made stronger as we traverse adversity.  That said, I still prefer a clean path, free of suffering.

Today, I spent much of the day outside doing a landscaping project that involved a lot of work with a shovel and a pick.  My pants and shirt were filthy, and, in the middle of it all, I called a friend who owns a landscaping company. After explaining my circumstance, he heard me ask, “I would prefer the easier path, but if I take that path and have to redo everything, then I don’t want the easy route.”  Just hearing myself say it, unwound my choices.  Who wants to do a task twice when they can do it only once and be done with it.

It added an extra 2 hours of labor to remove a defective piece of underground piping and replace it with a new one.  Before I called him, it appeared that I had two choices:  keep it and replace it later, or replace it now.  I did it now, with a two hour investment.  The other choice was do it later, and invest 8 hours in the future.

Today’s investment was less than the amount of time I spend watching a college football game.  In retrospect, what choice did a really have?

Last week, I hurt my right foot, AGAIN.  I spoke to the doctor and Sharon, and it is obvious that both parties are telling me that if nothing is broken or damaged, I need to push through it, but not to the point that I make things worse.  Running has never been my issue.  Nor has cycling for that matter.  Injury has been my bug…my thorn.

The day after injuring my foot, I began to receive prayer for my foot.  In addition,  I started icing my foot, stretching it more than normal and I even changed my running shoes.  Despite doing all of that, it still hurts to run on.  Walking and cycling are non-issues, but I have a part of my body that has not been at 100% since I began this journey.  I have never done a duathlon at a competitive level with a healthy foot.  I have not ran a race that didn’t require backing off from 100% effort.  And, it appears that I won’t be free of this in the near future, either.

I think this is how Paul felt in the new Testament when he spoke of the thorn in his side.  Paul says, ” 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.”

Truly I hate having a physical ailment like this. I have to go at less than 100% and go home pretending that I did my best.  Maybe, it is my best, but it is a circumstantial best.

Injury keeps my humble  It also keeps my close to those who know more than me.  I am changing my plans and my thinking.

What is your thorn?  What do you do about it?

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