What was the Apostle’s ‘thorn in the flesh’? Nobody knows. It could have been a chronic sickness, constant persecutions, hardships, insults…all for the sake of Christ…Not all ‘thorns’ are the same. Each person has a different problem that repeats itself and is not ready to go away even if he prays against it.
Apostle Paul prayed, he begged God to take it away, but the Lord ignored his request. But the same God gave him great revelations of His Word and of His Spirit. Paul wrote half of the New Testament. The thorn apparently did not kill him, just made him more effective in his ministry.
The question is this: Who does not want such ‘a thorn’? What is its torment compared to the glory revealed? Nothing!
The most important lesson is this:
God ‘designs’ and ‘sends a thorn’ to each child He wants to use and bless!
Each thorn has a purpose. If you are sick and no doctor can help, please remember that nothing is random in a believer’s life. The main reason for such a chronic problem is to keep you humble. Pride is an enemy, a deceptive enemy. We need help from God to remain humble and to be a vessel for His honor and grace. Pride can destroy a testimony, a ministry. Do you remember Nebuchadnezzar? Pride almost destroyed him, if not for the grace of God who gave him a second chance.
The thorn is painful but necessary to keep you humble. Do not be discouraged when the pain does not go away. Don’t you see that in other areas God is blessing you? As you accept the blessings, accept the occasional pain too. Is the same God that gives them to you! Both are depended on one another.
For example, if you know that for each occasional headache you will receive a million dollars, you will not be worried about your headaches anymore. You will not pray against them anymore.
If from time to time your boss insults you, for no good reason, but each time he pays you a million dollars, you will not be so upset about his nasty words. The process is still painful but you can boast about the effect it has on you and the blessings that follow!
It is because you do not see the connection between suffering and blessings… that is why you cry and complain. God weakens our flesh; He kills it in fact. The process is necessary to prepare the way for grace to enter. This pain is peculiar. It can be very painful one minute, and disappears in the ocean of prosperity the next day.
May God open your heart to His way of inflicting pain and adding grace and glory to you! That is what you need: opened eyes and open hearts to God’s way of love, to the royal way of the Cross!