Thorns In The Flesh
The Apostle Paul had several of them. I have a couple. I was not as sympathetic toward those that have them as I should have been before I had some of my own. My father had a wooden leg. Many wonderful Christians that I know have them. I encounter a lot of Christians that have them in my nursing home ministry. I know that the Christians there have a better attitude about them than unbelievers. We acquire more of them as we age. They seem a little easier to bear if we keep busy for the Lord. They seem a little easier to bear if we know God*s purpose for them. They are most difficult to bear when we don*t know His purpose for them. I believe that I know God*s purpose for one of mine but I don*t know His purpose for the others. When it is best for us to know His purposes we will know them. When it is best for us not to know them we will not know them. Sometimes it is harder for us to know that God loves us when we have them. His thorn in the flesh was not something that Paul chose for himself and they are certainly not what we would choose for ourselves. The Bible gives us some of God*s purposes for them. Perhaps some of you can enlighten me about more of His purposes for them, about what He has accomplished through you because of them.
2 Corinthians 12:7: And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2 Corinthians 1:4-6: Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6: And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
James 1:3: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Psalms 119:71: It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
1 Peter 4:13: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ*s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Hebrews 2:10: For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Colossians 1:24: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body*s sake, which is the church:
1 Thessalonians 3:3: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
Romans 8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 Corinthians 10:13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Job 2:9-10: Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
I wonder if some of us have them to help us understand what Jesus went through. I wonder if some have them so that Heaven will be a more glorious improvement when they get there. I wonder if some have them so that we might have someone to minister to. I wonder if some have them to be examples for us.