On the day after Christmas, this post is spiritually therapeutic and selfish. Another way for me to avoid writing and editing my novels, house cleaning, even talking frankly with my spouse about my deep painful thorn that affects him in negative ways. I’m so sorry, hon.
On the other hand, perhaps hanging out my dirty laundry will touch someone else experiencing the thorns of the flesh. Let’s face it, we all have a thorn, if not a brier patch in our lives–Shameful traits of our sinful natures that as often as we beg for God to free us from them, He wisely says no. Drat!
Oh to know the mind of God! Or not. Perhaps, our problems revolve around the fact that we long to know what we’re better off not knowing, including why God allows believers to struggle. Confused yet?
To this day no one has absolutely defined what was the thorn in St. Paul’s side. Some suspect s it was physical aliments, while others think pride. No matter what caused that thorn of his flesh it never left him. It could also have been Satan consistently attacking Paul’s call by God to evangelize. It really doesn’t matter, does it? The point is that God never removed this struggle from Paul. Because God knew what was best for Paul and how that thorn kept His servant obedient and on his knees.
While researching the apostle Paul, I happened across this excerpt from a Homily by Fri. Josiah Trenham. These are his eloquent words not mine.
“St. Paul’s thorn teaches us that there is always an overriding spiritual purpose to our afflictions. In this sense, they are good. With this in mind we ought to only carefully pray about them. St. Paul says, “Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’.” (2 Cor. 12:9). St. Paul prayed three times and that was all. He found out that his affliction was God’s will. What a model for us…Pray about your sickness? Yes. But leave it off after a while, and instead seek what you really need: Grace. Grace is where our sufficiency lies and what we really need, not physical health. To the Holy Trinity, Who providentially governs all things for our good be all glory and our fervent praise!”
I’m still learning that no matter how deeply burrowed my jagged thorns are, they are power perfected in weakness.
God’s Grace is sufficient.