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The Lily and the Thorn

"Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens" (Song of Solomon 2:2).

The lily is beautiful, simple, pure and fragrant; the thorn is unsightly, sharp and barren. The world is divided between the lilies and the thorns; the believers and unbelievers, the regenerates and degenerates, the constructs and destructs. We ask ourselves which are we, lilies or thorns? Are we clothed with the graces of His Holy Spirit, the ornaments of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23) or are we bound in a corset of the disgraces of the unholy spirit?

We are advised: "Do not be afraid, though briars and thorns are all around you..." (Ezekiel 2:6b). Certainly Jesus was surrounded by thorns and was even crowned with them: "They...twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him" (Mark 15:17). The prophet Micah laments, "The best of them (us!) is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge" (Micah 7:4). We all crown Jesus time and again with bristles and barbs, sins that crucify Him again and again because He loves us so.

The lily and the thorn grow and thrive in the same soil. "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45). God's generosity seems unfair, but only God knows when a thorn can convert into a fair flower. It may take more sunshine from those who profess to receive Light from the Son.

The lily stays soft and pure; the thorn becomes hard and causes pain. There is that inside each of us which causes us to react to the outside elements differently. What a beautiful lesson for us. God's grace dignifies us that we may flourish as the lily rather than make thorns of our surroundings because we lack decency and graciousness. "I will be like...dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily" (Hosea 14:5). The dew of God's love makes us gentle and beautiful and fruitful lilies in His valley.

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