Sometimes He leaves the Thorn

The other day, my daughter and I decided to go on a four wheeler ride on our property. We live out in the woods, so we had some fun just traveling through the woods and sharing some time together. At some point during the outing, I grabbed a bush with some thorns on it. I vaguely remember the prick of the thorn in my finger at that moment, but quickly moved on to what was next, and didn’t think about it anymore.
A little later on, after returning to the house, I realized my finger was a little sore. A few days later it was red and swollen. Upon closer inspection, I realized there was a piece of the thorn still in my skin. Of course, I worked to get it out because I knew as long as it stayed, it would be painful. After a short while, I was successful and removed the thorn piece. A few days later, the soreness left and it was healed – good as new.

But there are some wounds that don’t heal quite as easily as that one. Paul actually speaks of this.

I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 2 Corinthians 12:7

We don’t know what the thorn was for Paul. God doesn’t mention it by name. But what is clear is that Paul wanted it gone. He wanted it gone so bad, that he begged three times for the Lord to remove it.

But each time the Lord replied the same. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

What? Why didn’t God just remove it? Could he? Well we know he could have. But then Paul wouldn’t have had to depend on God for His strength and God’s power wouldn’t be shown.

What was Paul’s thorn? I’ve often wondered. God didn’t name it. I think that’s probably because he wanted you and I to insert our thorn there as well.

What’s your thorn? Is it a physical ailment that won’t go away?
A hard relationship.
A hurt that won’t heal.
A feeling of inadequacy, overwhelmed with life or sorrow.
Or, a temptation that just won’t go away?

You’re in good company. The guy that wrote most of the New Testament had a thorn as well. It didn’t budge. And, God left it there on purpose, for His glory.

Paul’s conclusion on his thorn is powerful.

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God didn’t take away the thorn, He didn’t relieve the struggle. But he did provide the strength to survive it – and through that, He was made known.

Let your weakness show today, for in your weakness, Christ is strong.

READ: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

PRAY: Ask God to show you your thorns. Ask Him to remove them, but let Him know if He doesn’t, you will let His strength show in your weakness.

GROW: Let the Holy Spirit display His strength through you today in the places you are weak.

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