For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom
did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified:
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 NIV
When the Thorn Remains
I am in the final stages of finishing the first draft of my manuscript for my first book. Most mornings find me nestled with my laptop next to the roaring fire, gazing out the window under a still black sky. The chill sets in as I pad down the hallway, careful not to wake sleeping children.
Last month I sent out requests for early endorsers. I believe in the message of my book and the stories it contains. I believe we need to know God’s goodness, especially when life feels like it’s anything but good. We need the reminders, our gospel on repeat. Christ crucified. But there’s more to it than that.
I’m writing about lack, about what it means to be poor in spirit, about what it means to need and how God meets us in our weakness. As I reach out to other, more established writers, I am asking them to support this message, but it also feels like I am asking for them to support me. To endorse me. And this has the potential to unearth a million insecurities. Identity is such a fragile thing, and we often look for our significance in a million wayward places. It’s easy to be swayed by the ones we assume have more answers. Who have it together. Who have the perfect children, or marriage, or job.
I am the girl who loved words and collected them like breadcrumbs to find my way home, the woman who let her story unfurl in the hand of God and tried her best to believe her weakness didn’t disqualified her from being used and loved by God. I often find myself among bestselling authors, professors, and professionals and I want to cower. I feel like an imposter and I wonder if someone will discover I have no idea what I’m doing. I am a high school dropout. I have no credentials to speak of. I have spent much of my life lacking all the necessary things to be pleasing to God.
I have spent my life in constant need of a Redeemer.
Sometimes I want to pretend I’m not weak. That I have it all together. That things are going well. But the reality is surviving bipolar disorder means my mind often betrays me. Sometimes my thoughts are jumbled, sometimes the words don’t come; they’re thick and clunky and I’m suffocating under the swell of them as I try to push them out into the world. Sometimes my hands tremble and my heart shakes from the medications I’m on. Sometimes I am ill. Sometimes my body betrays me in a thousand different ways.
Sometimes I wonder if I am strong enough to live the life God has called me to.
This is my thorn. I am pierced among the beautiful and blossoming perennials and despite my pleas, God has chosen for it to remain. Can I still flourish if I am never healed? But the Bible says, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
I am being saved, moment by moment. Jesus comes for me. He meets me in the darkest corners of my mind. He meets me in a kind psychiatrist. He meets me in the incredible gift of sharing with you guys. He meets me as I face the rising dawn and pour out the words He’s given me.
Sometimes people who have yet to know Jesus look at my life and they wonder how I could claim a good and loving God. It is indeed foolish naiveté to them. But to me, who is being saved, it is the power that keeps me moving forward with confidence.
I count myself among the foolishness of God, the ridiculousness of the Cross. The message of Christ crucified is a stumbling block because I have done nothing to earn his tender mercy. I proclaim God’s goodness, fluent in the language of hope because He comes for me again and again and He doesn’t waste a thing.
The burden hasn’t lifted. I lack human strength but I have come to know even the weakness of God and His abundant grace is all I need.
It is enough to walk in the garden barefoot and unashamed even when the thorns remain.
Have you ever felt disqualified by your weakness and just needed to know God loves to use the most unlikely cast of characters so He gets the glory?