Our Thorns in the Flesh

Calvin Malefyt

READ : 2 Corinthians 12:3-10

J.B. Phillips translates this phrase, “I was given a physical weakness.” Eugene Peterson calls it “the gift of a handicap.” We don’t know what Paul’s humbling trial was. It may have been eye problems, or malaria, or depression. The messenger of Satan has come to us all. This great apostle prayed three times that the thorn might be removed. Instead he received a surprising answer: one translation is, “He said, and that is enough.” Paul discovered a paradox, that power is made perfect in weakness.

We must beware of making health an idol and God into a glorified health doctor. C.S. Lewis, English writer, says, “Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank….” Health can be a stepping stone to knowing God, but suffering may be a more effective means of causing us to seek God’s grace. Again, C.S. Lewis: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts to us in our pain.” He plants the flag of truth in the rebel soul and compels us to examine our relationship with Him.

He hears us when we pray. His lovingkindness will help us surmount any obstacle so we may boldly say, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). Prayer Suggestion: Ask for God’s grace in your trials. Trust that He will surely answer you, for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ.