The Crown of Thorns

Dear Reader:

As everything in my yard and garden is starting to wither away… my succulents…named appropriately the “Crown of Thorns” can take the 100 plus heat with drought and keep on keeping on. In hindsight if any of us could have even imagined the month before summer, May, breaking all kinds of 100 plus records…(still weeks away from official summer)…I think we would have planted all succulents this year.

The plant gets its common name from the legend that the thorny crown worn by Jesus at his crucifixion was made from sections of this plant. The crown of thorns  hails from Madagascar.

I got these yellow Crown of Thorns last year and they easily survived the winter and were the first blooming back in the spring…now they are the only ones, besides my rose bush, that is not wilting away in the oppressive heat that keeps us weak mortals inside….ridiculously and dangerously hot. Charleston broke a record for 100 plus four straight days…the hottest May ever recorded.

However it is not this plant that I wanted to talk about today but the reason why none of us are spared the “thorns in our sides” as we go through life. Haven’t we either used or heard this expression many times.

The origin behind this idiom goes back to scripture.

 If someone or something is a thorn in your side or a thorn in the side, they continually annoy you or cause trouble for you.  Example: She has become a thorn in the side of the government since publishing a number of reports pointing out that public cash was being wasted.

Note: You can also say that someone or something is a thorn in your flesh or a thorn in the flesh. Example: Her mother is still a thorn in her fleshdemanding, complaining and whining continuously.

Note: This expression refers to a passage in the Bible, in which St Paul talks about an illness or other problem: `There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.’ (2 Corinthians 12:7)

Interesting tidbit: Some Pharisees, who were strictly orthodox Jews, used to deliberately hurt themselves by putting thorns in their clothes to prick themselves when they walked.

Here are some shared thoughts by different authors and theologians on why God allows thorns to pierce us in life.

Kimberly Rae, author of Why Doesn’t God Fix it?

“Thorns have a purpose. They keep bugs from climbing the stems to damage or destroy the flower. Our personal thorns, though unwanted, can be used by God to protect us in ways only He knows.”

Charles Spurgeon, Baptist preacher

“Trials teach us what we are, they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of…”

Gary Roe, hospice chaplain and author of Comfort for Grieving Hearts.

“No matter what the thorn or where it might come from, one thing is for certain: God never wastes pain and suffering. He is an expert at taking tragedy and using it to produce a harvest of love, faith, and goodness in our lives and hearts.”

Kimberly Ahri, author of The Meaning of Finding Coins: Messages and Spiritual Insights.

“The encounter with a thorn becomes transformative when we choose to view it as a form of guidance, rather than punishment. A poke invites us to take a deep look at our lives and ask, Are we headed in the direction of our best life? When we allow the poke of a thorn to awaken us, it is transformed into a blessing.”

Patrick Riecke, minister and author of 101 Ways to Find Meaning in Suffering (excerpt)

“…The bloom doesn’t erase the thorn. Conversely, the thorn cannot destroy the bloom. Pain can not destroy love. In grief pain and love are welded together.”

So until tomorrow….Thorns protect us, let us see what we are made of, produce love and goodness in our hearts, lead us in the right direction, and weld pain and love together as one. The poke of a thorn can transform hurt into a blessing.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

We don’t have a street lamp on Rainbow Road so it is pretty dark at night… Luke and Chelsey decided to add solar flood lights to their front yard and huge oak tree while I added solar lanterns along the fence by the driveway…and a solar lantern attached to the chapel of hope bird feeder.







About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to The Crown of Thorns

  1. I agree, Becky, that pain and suffering reveal our character and our faith in God. I remind myself that God’s grace is sufficient for me. My question is not Why me any more, but Abba, how can You get glory from this trial. Give me grace to endure without complaining and anger.


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    I remember CS Lewis said that if Jesus received a crown of thorns…then why should we expect only roses?


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