Roses and Thorns; ups and downs; wins and defeats; life at its best and its worst. King David as the leader of Israel faced both wins and challenges both in his kingship and in his personal walk with the Lord God Almighty. His psalms reveal the inner struggles he faced and where he turned when all of life was full of roses and when it was full of thorns. Remember the Transfiguration story in Matthew? It was there that the disciples, Peter, James and John had the privilege of seeing Jesus in all of his glory. It was there on the mountain top they also saw only the grandeur and vista of the heavens and the valleys below were a distant speck. Peter wanted to memorialize the beauty and never leave, but Jesus reminded the disciples that the valley below lay with unfinished work…the thorns like the faithless disciples unable to conquer the demon possessed boy. King David in Psalm 21 has been victorious in battle and his life is full of roses but in Psalm 22 we find life is also filled with thorns—the disappointments, the discouragement, when all of life “stink; when we have our “melt downs.”
Observe a life full of roses from David’s perspective, his mountain top day. O Lord, you give me strength, you deliver me, you have granted me my heart’s desire, and have not refused my request. I have rich blessings beyond number, a house full of children that will carry on my lineage, nations that bow down to me in reverence. All of this is because I have chosen to trust in you and Your faithfulness.
Psalm 22 is a sharp contrast and a day filled with thorns. It is here that David felt abandoned, alone in his prayer time. He wrote: I pray but my prayers are full of groaning and tears that do not let up. People, my fickle sons of the kingdom, are insulting me and despising me, taunting me and mocking me, they remind me that I am just a lonely man twisted as a worm. In times when I need their comfort, they instead are coming to me saying where is your God now?
We can relate to David’s days. Life changes, people are fickle and they come in and rearrange our things so that the order of our lives is altered, sometimes even down to the paper clips on our desks. We walk through our day and find our daily discipline challenging and the enemy’s words follow us in our minds from room to room. What is the solution when we have days filled with thorns? Take time and return to the mountain top to see the beauty of the Transfiguration, to see the beauty of the heavens and hear the words of God reminding us softly and tenderly that we need to listen, pay attention to His Son. Do as King David; reorient your day with prayer, meditation and rejoicing in the small victories that make life amongst the thorns bearable. Perhaps you are facing a day of thorns. Stop! Refocus your attention on the roses that are in full bud waiting to be opened.
Remember this: Roses are teaching that the beauty of life will bloom, once you have taught yourself the lessons given by living with the thorns.”[Deoudis]