Praying can hurt…

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Paul had a thorn in his flesh.  I think I have many.  They are called people.  The irritating individual who knows exactly how to get me angry.  The negative one that I dread walking past.  The one that causes a constant battle of forgiveness in my mind.  The one that instead of being helpful when asked a question, shoots back with a snotty answer.  The one that cannot admit he made a mistake but rather manipulates the situation so that somebody else looks guilty.  I have many such thorns.
Oh I wouldn’t mind being able to just pull them out of my life and throwing them away.  I really can’t see why they form part of my life.  I told God that in an angry moment this morning.  And God, in His mercy that we can never fathom, answered my arrogance by reminding me of a song by Nichole Nordeman – Rolling River God.

We are little stones, in the river of life, surrounded by God.  We rub against each other, get uncomfortable with each other and sometimes cry out in pain.  We cannot understand why we have to go through this terrible process, but in the end, God is more interested in our character than in our comfort.  Through these thorny people, God shows us our own weaknesses.  We need to turn to God when the little stones around us make life uncomfortable.  We need to pray for the thorny people – that’s probably why God put them close to us – somebody needs to pray for them.  In the process we will grow to be more like Jesus.  More of Him and less of us.

Here are the words of the song:

Rolling river God
Little stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through
so, I am a stone
Rough and grainy still
Trying to reconcile this river’s chill
But when I close my eyes
And feel You rushing by
I know that time brings change
And change takes time
And when the sunset comes
My prayer would be this one
That You might pick me up
And notice that I am
Just a little smoother in Your hand
Sometimes raging wild
Sometimes swollen high
Never have I known this river dry
The deepest part of You
Is where I want to stay
And feel the sharpest edges wash away
copyright Nichole Nordeman
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