Meditation on a Thorn Bush

Meditation on a Thorn Bush

Meditation on a Thorn Bush – FRET NOT

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.” (Joy to the World, Isaac Watts)

Many years ago in Falls Church, Virginia, Sheridan and I were out for a twilight stroll, chatting and chuckling in the cool of the day. And there it was. The thorn bush bulged over the sidewalk and stopped us cold. We stayed there and stared for some time at its towering height, dark density, and bulbous width. The thorns were frightening, 4″ or 5″ in length and very thick. They were everywhere on the bush, from top to bottom, several per inch on every branch and twig. These were not your garden-variety thorns growing near berries and brambles. These thorns were like the old-fashioned square-headed nails, only sharper. And they were sticking out in every direction, piercing the space, attacking the air at all angles, punctures waiting to happen.

The homeowner ambled out and we asked him the thorn bush’s name, and his reply was not surprising. “This is a Jerusalem bush,” he said simply. Of course… what else could it be? “This is the same type of bush that the soldiers used to make their crown of thorns for Jesus.” He was matter-of-fact as he added, “I really do need to trim this thing. I can barely even see those nests in there.”

What? We were just beginning to imagine the incredible pain inflicted on Christ’s scalp with nature’s own spikes. Did he just say that birds live inside this natural disaster? Impossible.

The bush’s owner shrugged innocently and wondered aloud how the birds could fly full speed into and out of this obstacle course without getting pricked, torn or impaled. We didn’t believe him, so he pointed to the nests deep inside the bush’s sacred gut, fully protected from predators, from foul weather, from all conceivable natural enemies. “I can’t imagine a safer home for these fragile little critters,” he said walking away. “But how they negotiate their comings and goings is beyond me.”

Thorns… both a bane and a blessing? They have been cursed since the Garden of Eden, an unmistakable sign of worthless land and fruitless toil, a clear picture of sin in nature, and good only as fire kindling. Thorns are earth’s stranglehold on life.

And yet. And yet. St. Paul boasted of his heaven-sent thorn. And the very face of God wore those thorns during His moment of painful glory, bearing somehow the fallen nature of all creation. And lo and behold, thorns provide an impregnable shelter as well.

So comfort ye, comfort ye my people, says the Lord. I will turn your prickly prisons into havens of peace. You need not fear the welfare of your children, or the content of your future, for I am protecting your eternal part, the spirit, of you and of all whom you love. For I undid the curse, I made captivity captive, and death itself has died. The thorn-curse has been lifted. Rejoice and fear not. Join Me in My honorable fellowship of suffering, for I have been surrounded with thorns, just like you.

Master, may we be your thorn birds? Guide our coming in and our going out. Build us a nest in your thorny crown, a resting place, a haven from danger and fear. Can there be a more secure dwelling place, God, than the inner sanctum of your thorn bush, a sweeter hiding place from our enemies inside the mystery of the broken curse? In your mercy, make us your thorn birds, that we may live in peace and safety.

“Let all who take refuge in You be glad,

Let them ever sing for joy.

Spread Your protection over them,

That those who love Your Name may rejoice in You.

For surely, O Lord, You bless the righteous;

You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.”  (Ps. 5:11-12)

One Reply to “Meditation on a Thorn Bush”

  1. These words are perfect for my soul today! I shall settle in to a protected haven of love from Jesus and let Him guide my day, after the passing of my Dad yesterday. Thank you for your writings Steve!