Thorns and Petals
Lysa TerKeurst

"The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature." Luke 8:14 (NIV)

My life has not been a bed of roses.

What an odd statement. It is supposed to mean that I haven't lived a life without snags and hurt. However, think of an actual bed of roses. Doesn't it have both thorns and flowers?

Let me say, if I was reading this devotion and I saw it was going to be about roses, I might be tempted to click "delete" while rolling my eyes and thinking the last thing the world needs is another cutesy Christian analogy. But stick with me here. There is something significant to be discovered about roses and thorns.

My aunt has grown roses for years. When I was in middle school and my family was falling apart, I went to live with my aunt for almost a year. I remember her telling me not to run through her rose garden. After all, she had what seemed like hundreds of other acres that unfolded in wide open fields. I could run there.

But I didn't want to.

I only wanted to run through the rose garden. I wanted to spread my arms wide open and run between the rows brushing my fingertips across all the velvety blooms. I wanted some of the blooms to burst and shower petals all around. Then I could gather the petals and spread them along my path.

As if I could carve a new place in this world lined with beauty and void of adult words like divorce, rejection, and hate ... I wanted my world to be soft, pink, and lovely. So, I took a running start with my arms outstretched only to be shocked with searing pain within the first few steps.
Thorns. Big, mean, vicious thorns. Thorns that ripped my flesh and opened up the flood of tears I'd been so determined to hold back. Suddenly, I hated that bush. I wanted to chop it down and beat it into the ground. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to destroy something that produced such beauty.

I stood back from the source of my pain and wondered should I call it a bush of thorns or a bush of flowers. Really, it could go either way.

Suddenly I wasn't just staring at a bush. I was staring at my life. My life. Such a bed of roses. Would I see the hurt or would I see the beauty?

Luke 8:14 says, "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature." The seed being referred to here is the Word of God. Isn't it interesting that people who are choked by life's circumstances and never mature are referred to as having thorns in the soil of their soul?

Yes, life sometimes hands us thorns but we have the choice to park our mind on the thorn or on the beauty it can eventually produce in us if only we'll cling tightly to God's Word. For however a person thinks is how they will eventually become.

If we dwell on and think about the negative in life, we will become negative and God's Word will have a hard time taking root in our souls. If, however, we acknowledge the negative but choose instead to look for the good that can come from it, God's Word will take root in our souls and produce a lush crop of beauty.

It all comes down to choice. That day in my aunt's garden, I chose to be aware of the thorns but park my mind on the petals.

And I guess you could say, I've been making that choice every day since.

Dear Lord, it can be really hard to focus on the petals rather than the thorns of life. Really hard. Will you help me? I want the soil of my soul to be healthy and ready to receive Your Word. I want to produce beauty in my life despite the thorns by which I've been so hurt. Will You show me how? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog for a list of verses that will help you further process the thorns you are facing right now.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. This book has more details about the rest of Lysa’s story and how she made the choice to see beauty from life despite horrific tragedies.

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Look at today's key verse again and list out the ways people are choked by life's circumstances.

Isn't it interesting that it's not just the worries of life that can choke us but good things too?

What are some things that might be hindering you right now?

What does this verse reveal is the outcome of the person consumed with focusing on thorns?

Have you ever struggled with feeling like you aren't maturing in your Christian walk?

I did… for many years. That's why I wrote Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl to help us grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus and understand how Jesus can help us process the snags of life in a healthy way. Why not order a copy for you and one for a friend?

Click here to order. And also know that your purchase from P31 helps support our free daily devotions…so, thank you!

Power Verses:
Hebrews 6:8, "But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." (NIV)

Mark 15:17, "They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you for today's devotion. I recently (8/3/09)became widowed at the age of 45. I have 2 small children, ages 9 and 5 I've had a hard week this week as the reality of my husband's sudden death is becoming more real. I want to grow through this experience. I don't want to become stuck in grief. I want to become better, not bitter. I want to be all that God wants me to be. Thank you for your words today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great devotional. It was something that I really needed right now. Thank you God!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, may our Lord bring you the Peace that only He can give to you and your little ones. May He shower you with love as you go through the pain of losing your loved one and may the memories of your loved one bring you happiness. You are in our prayers. This is a beautiful message that has opened up the eyes of my heart on how to see the beautiful petals and the blessing of the thorns.

Blogger GEARS said...

And this is why I like to start my day off by checking out the new Proverbs 31 devotional! Once again, its bang on, exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you for reminding me that the thorns that I experience in life are there to produce the glorious flowers and scents!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That was a really good devotion. How do I get past my thorns. I want to so bad but just don't know how. I know the Lord as my savior. Just trying to get past all the hurts.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH, Lysa! I really needed this! ~Ruthanne

Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

This moved me. I have so many memories as a little girl wishing I could escape from all of life's ick. As I look back, though, with every single horrible circumstance, God was there to comfort, protect & love. He is so beyond great, it's beyond my comprehension. Thanks, Lysa.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just said to my husband this morning that I wish I knew how to help the two families we know that each just lost a child. I have prayed for them to come closer with God than every before.

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