Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thorn in the Flesh

“To keep me from being conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12: 7-9, NIV 1984).

Sidney had just spent some time with me commiserating and asking for prayer for someone he loved who had again fallen from wholeness to brokenness because of choices she had made. It was just the two of us. We had happened to meet in the doctors’ lounge, both called in for late night emergencies, searching for coffee and awaiting test results.

“You know,” he said. “Have you ever considered the possibility that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not his own personal affliction, but the affliction instead of one he loved dearly? I could be so much more focused on doing all that God would have me do if only Sarah was whole.”

Is there one thing in your life that, if only God would take care of it, how much more you could do for Him? You know you could, and yet, God has said, “Let my grace be sufficient for you.” The thorn remains and you are forced to be deliberate and intentional about serving the Lord instead of passionately free in your service?

Could it be that my thorn is God’s chisel instead of life’s accident, or life’s accident that God has fashioned into His chisel? Whatever its origin, could it be that this thorn is shaping me into the person that God wants to partner with to redeem a world He loves? Could it be that without this thorn I would never be shaped into His instrument of grace?

Could it be that the thorn is the thing that keeps me from running a race of my own and calling it God’s?

Dear God,
I still beg you to take the pain away, but ask for your will above my relief.

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