“So to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…” – 2 Corinthians 12:7
The apostle Paul was talking about how he could boast about his ministry and his knowledge. He was given understanding into God’s word and His revelations that surpassed the knowledge and understanding of any other believer. However, Paul recognized that he was given something in his life that kept his pride in check.
We are not told what this “thorn” was. We do not know if it was physical, mental or spiritual. All we know is that it was allowed by God. And notice this for a moment, this “thorn” was not imposed on him, it was given to him as a gift. How would something like this be viewed as a gift? Because it kept Paul’s name low and lifted up Jesus’ name.
This is so contrary to the way we are taught today, isn’t it? We are told to have pride, to be the best and to expect only the best of everything and to worry about “number one”. But many times, God allows these things in our lives to keep us close to Him. I mean think about it, if you had everything, would you even think about God?
I really like this poem: “I asked the Lord that He should give success to the high task I sought for Him to do; I asked that every hindrance might grow less and that my hours of weakness might be few; I asked that far and lofty heights be scaled and now I humbly thank Him that I failed. For with the pain and sorrow came to me a dower of tenderness in act and thought, and with failure came a sympathy, an insight which success has never brought. Father, I had been foolish and humblest of though hadst granted me my blind request.”
Today, if things are not perfect in your life or you feel like God has not “blessed” you the way you think He should, could it be that God is trying to keep you close to Him? Could it be that He allows things in your life to keep you from something even worse? Maybe we need to look at the “thorns” in our lives as gifts, like Paul did.