By: Debbie Driscoll
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Many of us suffer from having a thorn in our flesh, just like the Apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12. For some of us, this thorn could be a bad relationship that we are dealing with, for others it could be a physical weakness, yet for others it could be an issue of personal sin. Whatever the struggle, thorns are never fun to live with. They are annoying and, most of the time, quite painful.
Nobody likes to have thorns in their flesh. I remember getting one stuck in the palm of my hand not that long ago. Immediately, all I could think of or wanted to do was getting that thorn out of my skin. I did not care how, I just wanted it out! I started looking around for tweezers and needles, and, once I found them, I used them to poke at my skin, with the hopes of getting that little intruder out of my body. Of course, in my impatience and desire to get rid of the pain at all costs, I ended up causing more damage (and pain) to myself by using my non-disinfected instruments too hastily and without caution. Not only did I fail to take out the thorn, but I managed to create a deep wound in my hand that took several days to heal.
Don’t we do this in our walk with God, too? So often, when we get a “thorn in the flesh,” we start poking at it, trying to remove the source of pain with our own strength. However, just as Paul teaches, sometimes God allows thorns in our flesh in order to use them to mold our character. It is in those moments of discomfort that God reminds us of His sufficient grace in our lives. Thus, when a moment of weakness arises, may we refuse to rely on our own strength, and instead allow God’s strength to sustain us and His abounding grace to take care of us in our pain.