Yet as we begin a new year, I can't help but think of those that are suffering in some way. On the very day of the Newtown tragedy, our family attended the funeral of my friend and neighbor's son—he was only twenty-five years old.
It was my son Alex's nineteenth birthday, and while I was so grateful for my son's life—I could not help but hurt deeply for my friend even though I could not imagine the depths her pain.
You may be suffering or know someone suffering deeply at this time. I want to share a poem with you that was sent to me when my daughter, Mary, was born.
The poem is called "The Thorn." On my original copy that was mailed to me—it says it is anonymous—but I have since read in other places that it is attributed to Martha Snell Nicholson.
The poem refers to a mendicant in the first line, which means a beggar.
I stood a mendicant of God
before His royal throne
And begged Him for one priceless gift
that I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand,
but as I would depart
I cried, ‘But Lord! this is a thorn!
and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift
which Thou hast given me.’
He said, ‘My child, I give good gifts
and gave My best to thee.’
I took it home, and though at first
the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last
to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn
without this added grace:
He takes the thorn to pin aside
the veil that hides His face.
Walk by Faith,