2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We’re never told what Paul’s thorn in flesh was, but whatever it was, it must have been chronic and debilitating especially since he begged the Lord to take it away three different times. Instead of becoming bitter and resentful toward the Lord for not answering his desperate plea, he simply accepted the thorn and learned to lean on the Lord to help him live life in spite of it.
Often times, a thorn in the flesh or hindrance would be a big enough road block to keep a person from moving forward in their ministry and life, but not in Paul’s case. He was determined to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ regardless of his circumstances. He understood the fact that God’s power was displayed in his weakness. We also need to understand that truth. When we recognize our limitations, we are forced to rely on God’s strength and ability, which is right where he wants us to live. And if we don’t get to that point on our own, then he’ll give us a thorn in the flesh in order to make the point completely clear.
In my own personal case, my thorn in the flesh is fear, to the point that it can be debilitating and overwhelming. For many years, it held me back from accomplishing God’s will in my life, which happens to be ministering to and mentoring women. After being held captive for many years, I chose to no longer accept the fear or let it hold me back from being all that God had called me to be. In order to accomplish that, I had to begin to step through my fears and have the faith to believe that God would meet me at my point of need.
The Lord has brought me a long way, but I still deal with fear on a regular basis. He's not delivered me from it completely, but rather chooses to leave it as my thorn in the flesh, so that I will continue to rely on Him. Each time I step in front of a crowd to deliver God’s Word, or step onto a plane to be His representative on a short term mission’s trip, an amazing thing happens……God shows up!! I want you to understand the point that I’m trying to make here. The Holy Spirit doesn’t show up until I make the first move. Strength, peace and empowerment doesn’t come until I take that first step. It is then and only then that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. At that point, He is able to accomplish great and mighty things and I am simply the yielded vessel that He is able to work through.
I believe that he hasn’t delivered me from my fear for a reason. Without the fear, I could possibly become prideful and independent, learning to rely on myself and my abilities to carry me through. By always having the fear present, forces me to rely on Him and His abilities to accomplish the task. As uncomfortable as it is, I have learned to be content with my weakness because I know that He will make me strong.
What is your thorn in the flesh? Do you continually pray that God will remove it? Try something different today. Thank God for that thorn and ask Him to help you accept that weakness, step through it by faith and minister to someone else, in spite of it. Let a new measure of faith arise in you today and take a giant step toward Jesus. Then watch Him take a extra giant step toward you.
Have a great day!