- Charles R. Swindoll: Thorn in the flesh-
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
“[Paul] accepted his heaven-sent affliction with the same humility with which he received the vision from the Lord…The world translated “thorn” comes from the Greek term skolops, meaning a “sharply pointed stake.” Specifically [Paul] wrote, “There was given to me a stake in the flesh.
After the glory came the groaning. On the heels of supernatural privilege came physical throbbing pain. Following the exalted heavenly revelations came humiliating and agonizing earthly suffering. It was an agony that would accompany him the rest of his life.
Now what was the thorn? Suggestions abound…The truth is we don’t know…Nobody knows for sure…And you know what that means? It doesn’t matter. The man who endured it calls it a “messenger of Satan.” The enemy hoped to use it to cause the apostle to defect or to retreat from his calling. God used it to keep the gifted servant on his knees…
I see an interesting tension here. While Satan punched and pounded the apostles resolve, the Lord’s purpose was to humble him, to keep him from exalting himself. Pride doesn’t reside in the hearts of the broken, the split-apart, the wounded, the anguished of soul.”
Charles R. Swindoll in Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit (Great Lives from God’s Word, Volume 6, Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2002) 99-100.
Abundance is my work for 2018 and in today’s Scripture it comes into view in a different way than I expected. When Paul could have gloried in an abundance of revelations, he received a gift from God: a thorn in the flesh.
I can relate this week. It’s been a week when I could be tempted to take pride in some earthly accomplishments. God has given me the gift of nerve pain which shoots into my hip and down my leg that has brought me to my knees.
Don’t miss God’s generosity. In times of abundance, when we could be tempted to be prideful, He gives us things like thorns coupled with sufficient grace for our good. Thank you for the gift of thorns. What a generous God we se
kurios M firstname.lastname@example.org
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