Some of us may need our ‘thorns’
The apostle Paul writes the following in 2nd Corinthians chapter 12 verses 7-10: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 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.”
There has been much speculation from many scholars regarding exactly what this “thorn” is that plagues Paul. What affliction, condition, reminder or “messenger of Satan” is it that torments him so much or so frequently that it reminds him that he is weak and that only through Christ can he be strong?
We may never know, but we do know the message found in this part of this passage: Paul faced something that God would not take away, and that something reminded him he was weak and forced him to rely on God for his strength. It most likely kept him humble at times. It probably reminded him of who he was in Christ for those times when he started getting a little “big for is britches.” It really could have been anything, because the truth is, we all may have something that does the same for us.
Maybe for some people it is an addiction that they struggle with that they rely on God to get them through or keep them in resistance. Maybe for you it is the illness that is not being cured. Something that causes you to trust in God and rely on God each day to get you through. Maybe for somebody else it is blindness or being deaf that causes them to count on God to carry them through. Maybe for some people it could be self-consciousness, self-esteem issues, depression, anxiety or a struggle with eating issues.
Maybe for some people it is truly Satan knocking on their door, trying to get into their thoughts, trying to direct their actions that causes them to stay in continuous prayer and communication and relationship with Christ in order to avoid the temptation they face.
And that is the secret. Our “thorns” that make us weak are also the prompts to cause us to rely on God’s strength in all things. Maybe some of us need “thorns” in order to stay faithful in our relationship with God through Christ. God may not remove your “thorn,” but you will be made even stronger through him if you allow his power and strength to flow through you.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
REV. BARRY VASSAR is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.