Thorns and Roses

The Thorn by James Hayllar

An old-fashioned-looking print hangs where I see it first thing every morning. A young girl, clad in pink dress with white apron, pink hat with bow tied under her chin, and black-stockings and little black slippers stands in a wheelbarrow. She grasps a pink rose in the hand hanging at her side. Her other is held out to the tender ministrations of a tall, white-haired man. He studies her hand, whole body intent on her, as he removes a thorn. 

I love this picture, a gift from my husband. The absolute tenderness with which the gentleman attends the child’s wound is touching. A clear representation of God’s tender care. 

Roses in the painting have thorns. That’s realistic; they do. They’re also a perfect picture of God at work in our world—wrapping tough, painful things like thorns in the fragrant beauty of lush roses. And though the rose gardens of this world are lovely, we live in a fallen world, and thorns abound. But they’re not a mistake. After all, do you think roses had thorns in The Garden of Eden? Or did the prickly things only appear after the fall? God alone knows. But in our world, roses must be handled deftly. If we don’t, we will experience the sting of the thorn. And we can also experience God’s provision for us in spite of the pain. 

 And the girl? Oh, how like her  I am with that slightly apprehensive look that hints at the way fear nudges out peace.

   She tentatively grasps the offending rose – having learned the lesson of caution that thorns require but unwilling to let go the beauty. I want to be even more like her. A child who loves beauty, learns about ugly, and still trusts her tender Father to care for her.

Thanks to James Hayllar for painting The Thorn, certainly a treasure.

The Thorn by James Hayllar

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