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.
The curse on Adam, Eve, and mankind included THORNS and thistles. The curse was directly pointed at them. The curse is designed to make hardships, pain, and frustration a normal part of man’s existence.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians that he has a THORN in the flesh. Many have speculated what the THORN in Paul’s flesh might have been. Perhaps a physical handicap, maybe harsh enemies, possibly spiritual attacks. We don’t know for sure but whatever it was, Paul could not get rid of it. He asked God to take it away and God would not.
The question is for us today, is our faith and our theology of suffering able to handle that? Are we able to live a life pleasing and honoring to God when God does not remove our THORNS of pain and problems?
Sometimes God does take away our pain, suffering, and problems. He is gracious and merciful and helps us. But sometimes he doesn’t. And He is never under any kind of obligation to do so. So yes, we can pray for God to deliver us from them and we should ask, seek, and knock for God’s help.
We must remember our hope is not in a pain free, problem free, frustration free, and suffering free life. Our hope is not in what happens in the present. Our hope is in when Jesus comes back and THORNS, thistles, and the curse are replaced by the perfection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes back all problems will be solved, all frustrations taken away, all suffering removed, and all pain eliminated. There lies our hope.
For now, we have pain, problems, suffering, and frustrations but we have them with the sufficiency of the grace of God. God has promised to help bear the weights that press upon us. He has promised that all these things are causing us to look to him and he sustains and empowers us through them. For his strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Glory in your THORNS for Christ is glorified in them.