Abide Together: Reflections on 2 Corinthians 11-12
Paul’s thorn. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – This has always been an interesting section of Scripture for me. Of course we don’t know what the thorn was, but we do know that it bothered Paul enough for him to pray to have it removed at least 3 times. (vs 8) We also know from verse 9 that God’s answer to Paul’s request was, “No. My presence with you is enough for you to have victory.” (my paraphrase)
I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a struggle, I always ask for God to remove it. When God says “No,” I get upset with Him. In spite of how I feel about it, He stays with me and never leaves me or forsakes me. In the end, He always brings me through in spite of whatever it is that’s bothering me. Sometimes I have even found that my thorn is in some way a blessing as it has prepared me for some new circumstance. It is also interesting to me that after his three requests, Paul stops asking. Instead, he decides to take God at His word and believe that His presence and grace really is enough. In light of his belief, Paul then begins to rejoice in his thorn. Not only does he stop asking for it to be removed, but he also celebrates it and is glad for the ways that God will use it.
Last year, I spent some time in the hospital. Ultimately, I had to have a couple of surgeries. Although I knew it was temporary, trusting the doctors who forced me into some very painful situations was extremely difficult – especially in those high-pain moments. I certainly didn’t spend any time rejoicing over my pains. I can’t imagine how I would have felt about it if I knew the pain would never go away. Paul trusted God even though he knew it was permanent. Man……Paul is incredible. I’m a whiny complainer with my issues and he rejoices that God will use his. I find myself desiring a greater trust in the Lord. Let us continually strive to grow in this relationship. Paul is a great example. God is in control and He loves us immeasurably. He knows our circumstances. We’re in good hands.
– Steve Corn
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