Paul said, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given to me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Corinthians 12:7.
Lets talk about the very first couple of words here for a second: Paul said, "To keep me from becoming conceited..." It is interesting that Paul would phrase the teaching in this manner. The thorn was placed and LEFT there as a reminder to him of his weakness and his NEED for Jesus. Without Him, Paul could have become conceited or thought it was all about him as he walked through his life. Instead, Paul recognized the need for the thorn in order to remain grounded and yoked to Jesus. This is how he remained committed to his purpose. I challenge you to think about what your "thorn" is and think about what God may be reminding you of.
Now focus on the word conceited for a moment. The definition of conceited according to the dictionary is excessively proud of oneself; vain. Much of my life I have been labeled, particularly at first glance, as conceited. The most ironic part of being labeled conceited is I actually have very low self esteem. Classically misunderstood is really all I can sum it up to be. But that "misunderstood" part has been a thorn in my side- a messenger of Satan my entire life. You see, when Satan is at work, he deceives and twists the reality. In my reality I have suffered so much pain I have never wanted anyone to feel the way I feel so I attempt to give everything I have- knowledge, instruction, time, attention, money, and so on, but with good intent also comes Satan and deception. I believe this #thorn is the reason I have the relationship I do with Jesus. The question still remains for so many people how could an all knowing all powerful God allow these thorn(s) to torment us? Especially the really good people out there who give there time and take care of others? How can a loving God allow bad things to happen to children? It just doesn't make any sense. I get it. The one thing I can say is the thorns have allowed for a special relationship with Jesus to #endure.
Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:10 c.
We all experience thorns and pain. And pain is pain. What you feel when experiencing pain is equally as painful as any other pain- even when your mind tries to tell you otherwise. Jesus promised His power to strengthen each of us to endure the pain, not to escape from it. Remember when Paul said he pleaded with The Lord three times to take it away from him? Deception sneaks in here, and as humans we want to be rescued and we expect God to waive a magic wand to make it end. But God is better than that. If He magically whisked away your pain right now would you remember what steps to take next time? Would you see the beauty in people or in life if you knew at any moment your wish was His command? Or would it simply be unfulfilling and insufficient at that point? If you're standing right smack dab in the middle of a storm right now I'm sure your answer is option one- magic wand please! But, that is deception at its finest. Lean on Him. Call Him. Sit with Him. He will give you strength to #endure.