Daily, it seems that I am reminded of my weakness, my sin, my quirks, my flaws, my imperfections, and the supernatural strength, grace, and power that God gives to those who love Him wholeheartedly, preach His truth, and live out the Gospel with courage and boldness. I, like Paul, desperately desire for my thorn(s) in the flesh to magically disappear – never to return again. They (my thorns) seem to me to be annoying obstacles put in the way of my seeking, of my faith, of my ministry, of my relationships, of my life. Most of the time, I cannot understand why God would want us, His sons and daughters and faithful witnesses of the Gospel, to continue to battle with aching sin and imperfections that glare at us with contempt and constantly remind us that we are NOT in control. Then, I remember who is. And then, everything changes. My mindset, my heart, my soul, my spirit. He is. He is. Forever. So I rest in Him. I lean on Him. I depend on Him. I cling to Him as my ultimate source of strength. And He is the one who helps me endure in weakness.
God has purposefully given us things about ourselves that remind us that we are human, and that He is God. That we are finite, and He is infinite. That we and our natural flesh are at enmity against God and His supernatural strength, might, and power. The only way that we as inherently prideful, selfish, and self-sufficient (so we dare to think) human beings will lean on and rely on God for everything we need is to battle and wrestle with the very things that make us unlike Him, the Creator of the universe; the All-knowing, All-powerful, All-sufficient, Everlasting, Mighty God. He is perfect in all of His ways. He is wise. He is strategic in everything that He does. He knows what He is doing in every aspect. So I resolve to trust Him – because He is worthy of my complete trust.
Paul’s thorns were never mentioned in the passage referred to in this post, but it is believed that they were many. I believe God wanted us to connect with this passage in a life-changing way, sensitive to our own personal flaws – so they were omitted. However, for the purpose of your and my growth, I will mention mine. My thorns in the flesh (to name a few) are: Pride. Self-righteousness. Legalism. Idolatry. Anxiety. Depression. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Adultery – against God (spiritual), and my spouse (physical and/or emotional). Alot has happened to me in my 30+ years of living. I wish that I didn’t have these thorns, these incessant sins to grapple with on a regular basis, but God has deemed it so. God has ordained it for my sanctification, for my joy, for my faith, and so that His power is made perfect in my weakness. We are best at glorifying God through our lives when we acknowledge that He is the only good in us. That He is the only strength to draw from. That He is the only One we live for.
Believer, find solace in this. Find comfort in this. Find grace in this. Find strength and and rest in this. As we continue to get knocked down by the cares of this life, by infirmities, by hardship, by persecution, by distresses, know that WE are becoming more like Christ. Know that WE are bearing sin and bearing the Cross just like He did. It is a mandate as children of God and disciples and followers of Christ to BE like Him in our duty for the Kingdom. So do not allow your thorn(s) to get you down or keep you down for too long. Look up. Your Heavenly Father is there to help. He will always be a present help in our time of need. There is mercy and saving and sustaining grace to walk us through this journey called life with Christ. It is a difficult one I must say, but eternally rewarding. So press on, love. In spite of your flaws and imperfections. Paul did. And so can we. ❤
God is love. Love is a lifestyle.
Jesus lived it, and He’s still living it.
And so should we. Don’t you forget it.
With God’s Love,
Porsche R. Armstrong
Founder, Love Is A Lifestyle
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10