Monday, September 17, 2007

Thorns

I was replying a friend's e-mail and he reminded me about Paul's thorn analogy in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:
7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me 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.
Here was Paul, someone who was doing the work of Christ and filled with His Spirit, and here he was pleading with God to take away what was hurting him, hindering him, a pain in his side (whether physical or figurative, we can't know for sure). And what did God say? "My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness."

I identify very well with Paul's thorn analogy, because for a time, it helped me come to terms with the possibility that maybe God allowed me to turn out the way I am by allowing this thorn in my life because it's better this way for His purpose. Perhaps, despite all the pain and heartache, it has kept me grounded? Perhaps, in spite of all the tears, it has given me more reason to smile by saving me from worse things? I guess in spite of, or even because of, the trials I have experienced, God has made me a better person. It's interesting to imagine-- what kind of person would I have been had I not had this thorn in my side?

In many ways, because this thorn weakens me, I know I need God more. Because this thorn brings me to my knees time and time again, it makes it easier to pray. Because this pain brings tears to my eyes, it clears them so I can better see God for the Healer that He is.
"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him."

- Romans 8:28

By Chester with 1 comment

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