“Reckon it nothing but joy… whenever you find yourself hedged in by the various trials, be assured that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance.” (James 1:2,3) Weymouth
“God hedges in His own that He may preserve them, but oftentimes they only see the wrong side of the hedge, and so misunderstand His dealings. It was so with Job (Job 3:23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! See his testimony in Job 1:10. Through the leaves of every trial there are chinks of light to shine through. Thorns do not prick you unless you lean against them, and not one touches without His knowledge. The words that hurt you, the letter which gave you pain, the cruel wound of your dearest friend, shortness of money– are all known to Him, who sympathizes as none else can and watches to see, if, through all, you will dare to trust Him wholly.” (Streams in the Desert)
The harsh reality is that we are not living a fairy tale, and faith is required to navigate thorns. Faith is largely a matter of one’s chosen vantage point. The more I concentrate on immediate discomfort, the less aware I will be of any pattern behind it. This obsession comes largely as the result of keeping Jesus fashionably at arm’s length rather than allowing him to hug me close, shattering personal space until His space becomes mine and vice versa. Christ is unconcerned with convention while statedly passionate about intimacy. Do I turn to him on occasion at my convenience, or cling to him constantly as life and breath? Is He on the periphery or at the Center? Run headlong into His embrace. Christ is not an imaginary friend; He is Creator, eternal God, reality comes into focus when I lean into Him.