Living out in the country there are many plants that are in the “wild/weed” category, stinging nettles being one of them. The plant has a serrated edge and hidden on each point are small hairs, like that of a cactus, which agitate your skin and “sting” when you brush against them. I avoid them at all cost when I am walking on our property because of the red, itchiness that comes from bumping into the plants.
I have met many people who could be described in the same way. They may show up where you don’t want them to be, if they are bumped into they can cause pain and irritation to you, getting under your skin. They can be the kind of people you want to avoid at all costs.
Recently, I came across a Facebook page about taking the nettle plant and making into fiber textiles. I was familiar with the flax plant being used to make linen, so I checked out the page and an accompanying video of how the work is done. Suddenly this irritating weed had purpose. I knew that the plant could be pulverized into powder form and taken in gelatin caplets for a natural allergy remedy, but cloth?
As I researched more about the plant I learned of the different ways nettles have been used through the centuries. It has been steeping into a tea, brewed into beer, cooked like spinach, used in soups, and of course processed into a textile. Who knew?
Prickly people can be the same way. God created them for a purpose, a reason, it just takes a different eye to see what that might be, if we are willing. However, just in the same way I wouldn’t go running into a nettles patch in shorts and a tank top, I would also make sure I was equipped to get close to the prickly person.
When we realize God is putting a difficult person in our path, the first thing we should be doing is praying. Praying for the person and for God to help us recognize what we are to be doing and how we are to be a part of His plan. It isn’t up to us to try to make over the individual, but instead, to be a tool for God to use to impact his or her life.
Everyone of us was at one time a prickly person, more likely to hurt another than not. Until God intervened. He used a person, a song, a situation, usually a combination of things and people to help you open your eyes to see what His purposes were for you. God wants to have you be a part His redemption story. His love for the others who are lost and hurting, just like you once were.
We are all created on purpose for a purpose. When we are prickly, it can just take some more time to discover those purposes. Don’t doubt His plan, lean into it, pray for wisdom about it, and trust Him to guide you in it. He will not fail.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).