Thorn in the Flesh


I was granted the experience of removing a literal thorn from my husband’s flesh yesterday. Sorry, honey, but I am so thankful for the visual aid. He had been working in the yard and had received a painful souvenir. He has an extremely high pain tolerance, so I can only imagine how bad it would have hurt me.

I was asked for help upon my immediate arrival home from work. It wasn’t one of those “this can wait until later” moments. Something needed taken care of before life could move forward smoothly.

The thorn in the flesh. The painful reminder that we are human, regardless of how high of a spiritual encounter or revelation of the Lord and His Word we may experience. What pops in your mind as something that you have begged the Lord to just take from you…yet He hasn’t? Those things for which we cry out for Him to get His tweezers and bring us relief…yet He doesn’t.

The apostle Paul is seen as a hero of the faith, and rightly so. When I read of all he suffered for the Name of the Lord, for the spreading of the gospel—I want to know the Lord as he knew Him. He was given amazing revelation, and a thorn to go along with it. He even called it a “messenger of Satan” that tormented him. Some believe it was a physical ailment. It doesn’t really matter to me. It was tormenting.

This portion of Scripture speaks so profoundly to me: not all battles are won the way we expect. We assume victory is the removal of the thorn. Sometimes it is choosing to live a life pleasing to the Lord in spite of the thorn. We assume grace means that the pain is taken from us. Sometimes grace means using our pain to trust God more.

Pride is dangerous, so whatever keeps us humble needs to be welcomed. But that doesn’t mean the thorn is an excuse for sin. Though an issue consistently pierces, never let it become a part of you. His grace isn’t a license to do what you want, but His grace is sufficient to help you do what you should.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Scripture to read:

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Jude 1:4

2 Corinthians 11:24-33

Job 36:21

Prayer:

Lord, I know that Your grace is enough for me to walk with You daily. Don’t let me allow weaknesses to hinder my relationship with You, but may they be catalysts to drive me to trust in Your power all the more. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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