Do you have a chronic medical condition? Migraine headaches? Fibromyalgia? Arthritis? Cancer? Allergies? Diabetes? Hyper-tension? Anxiety? What is it that you have to bear? It’s safe for me to say that we all experience pain at some point in our lives. Perhaps your thorn isn’t a physical infirmity at all. Might it be your boss? How about your work load? How about someone in your family? Your friend? Your in-laws? Whatever it is, you must know that your thorn doesn’t come from God. The apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh was allowed by God and sent by the devil to buffet (strike repeatedly) him. We don’t know what the thorn was, as the Bible doesn’t make it clear. But what we do know is that God allowed it, just as He allowed Job to be attacked repeatedly and to astounding degrees. Why would a loving God allow his committed and faithful children to be attacked? To feel pain?
The problem for us comes when we ask, why me? And I say, why not you? Why not me? Didn’t Jesus say that in this world we will have trouble? What is it that causes us to think that we should be exempt from pain? That we should get a pass? Because we’re Christians? Because we serve God faithfully? Because we prayed and asked God to remove our thorn? I thought that when I got saved all my troubles would be gone. Didn’t you? I thought that if God saved me, and if I surrendered my life to serve Him, He wouldn’t allow me to suffer. Have you ever asked God? Sometimes He reveals it, and sometimes he doesn’t. In Job’s case, his affliction’s purpose was a time of testing. In Paul’s case, his affliction’s purpose was to keep him humble. Your affliction’s purpose might not be revealed until you get to heaven. So what do we do when we’re overcome by our thorn in the flesh? What did Paul do? He pushed through it. Because he was so dedicated to his mission, he endured. He believed God when He said, my grace is sufficient for you. He worked through it until the day he died. He made a decision to accept it. It wasn’t a feeling; He made a decision to let it go and to let God work through him. Was it easy? No. I’m sure it wasn’t. Just as your thorn and my thorn is painful and all things bad, so other people are afflicted by theirs. You are not alone. If you think you’re the only one with a thorn, you’re sorely mistaken.