Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she
open the florist shop door, against a November gust of
wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and
then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a
"minor" automobile accident stole her joy. This was
Thanksgiving week and the time she should have
delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.
Troubles had multiplied.
Her husband's company "threatened" to transfer his job
to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she
could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What's
worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was
a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to
empathize with others who suffer. "She has no idea what
I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder
"Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered.
"For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched
when he rear-ended me? For an airbag that saved my life
but took my child's?"
"Good afternoon, can I help you?"
Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk.
"I . . . I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.
"For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell
stories, " she continued. "Are you looking for
something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five
months, everything that could go wrong has
Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised
when the clerk said, "I have the perfect
arrangement for you."
Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk
greeted the new customer...
"Hi, Barbara, let me get your order." She excused
herself and walked back to a small workroom,
then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement
of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be
long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of
the rose stems were neatly s nipped: there were
"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk..
Sandra watched - was this a joke? Who would want
rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter,
but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative
smile. "You'd think after three years of getting the
special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance,
but I can feel it right here, all over again," she
said, as she gently tapped her chest.
Sandra stammered, "Ah, that lady just left with
. . . uh . . . she left with no flowers!"
"That's right," said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers.
That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving
Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three
years ago, feeling much as you do today," explained
the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be
thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer;
the family business was failing; her son had gotten
into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That
same year I had lost my husband," continued the
clerk. "For the first time in my life, I had to spend
the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband,
no family nearby, and too much debt to allow
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered
the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for
the good things in my life and I never questioned
Him why those good things happened to me, but
when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?
It took time for me to learn that the dark times are
important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the
'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show
me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the
Bible says that God comforts us when we're
afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to
Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about
what her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the
truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and
I'm angry with God."
Just then someone else walked in the shop.
"Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.
"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving
arrangement . . twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!
" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue
wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously.
"Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet
that looks like that?"
"Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced,
" Phil replied. "After forty years, we were in a real
mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we
trudged through problem after problem, the Lord
rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told
me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of
what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was
good enough for me. I took home some of those
stems.. My wife and I decided to label each one for
a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that
problem taught us."
As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra,
"I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns
in my life" Sandra said to the clerk.
"It's all too . . fresh."
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience
has shown me that the thorns make the roses more
precious. We treasure God's providential care more
during trouble than at any other time. Remember
that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we
might know His love....Don't resent the thorns."
Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first
time since the accident, she loosened her grip on
her resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-
stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently.
"I'll have them ready in a minute."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God
to heal your heart...The first year's arrangement
is always on me."
The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra.
"I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but
maybe you would like to read it first."
It read: "My God, I have never thanked You
for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand
times for my roses, but never once for my thorns.
Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me
the value of my thorns. Show me that I have
climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show
me that, through my tears, the colors of Your
rainbow look much more brilliant."
Praise Him for the roses;
thank Him for the thorns.
God Bless all of you.
Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.
"Live simply, love generously, care deeply,
OH! my Nellie what a wonderful message today, I am so happy you shared this and I am so happy I got to visit you. I would like to bookmark this to remind me of God's faithfulness!ReplyDelete
HOPE is the greatest of all when we think of the thorns! For one DAY we will all see and be in His Perfection forever where there will be no more thorns, only the pure joy of His Beauty!ReplyDelete
I love you, LORD Jesus! Susan
What a blessing that you shared this story. I am pinning it in my Inspirational board just so I can read it when I need to be reminded of the reason for the thorns in life. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersPartyReplyDelete