The picture below depicts a scene from "The Prince of Egypt" where Moses meets God who appears as a fire in a bush. The Biblical account shows evidence that the bush contained thorns. Thorns were what appeared in the earth when it was cursed by God after the Fall. And yet God rested the weight of His fire in a bed of thorns to speak to Moses. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. The fire of God's redemption that was first kindled in His heart in the form of a Son, burned brightest when it wore thorns around its head. God gathered the thorns of this world closest to His bosom so that they would not touch us. He allowed them to be pressed into His temples so that they would not prick ours - if we believe the Gospel account.
Whether you're a Christian or not, there is a bittersweet principle of redemption nestled in this image of thorns set in the fire of glory: our greatest sorrows can become our greatest joys. Some of our gravest misfortunes can plunge us headfirst into waters we would have tip-toed around otherwise. If not for misfortune, our hearts would cling to the safety and warmth of the most familiar course of life. And yet we're just one ship-wreck away from finding our true home. As any sailor knows, the darkest storms of life and loss may be grim companions, but sometimes they are the only ones who know the way to our destiny.
Idealistic and platitudish - yes. Insincere - no. I'm not speaking from a theoretical vantage point. I've tasted everything I've written about above. There are thorns in my heart. There are deep sorrows and wells of bottomless grief. There is inestimable loss that life has wrought. And, ashamedly so, there is also excessive self-absorption and imperfection staring at me in the mirror. There is selfishness. Yes, there are thorns in my heart. But there is a fire there too. And a voice is calling out from within it.