A Thorn In My Flesh

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I openly share about past struggles and overcoming adversity through Christ’s strength. I’ve wrote about my failures and the reality of how I used to live one hundred percent in the world and not at all in God’s word.

There are times when Satan still torments my thoughts with shame or regret from my past—and it’s in those moments where I have to press into God’s truth, allow the Holy Spirit to remind me of memorized scripture, and spend time in prayer to counteract and push those thoughts away. I want so badly to not only push them away, but to throw them out, entirely…But I think of Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 12:7b and it helps me sort out my ongoing battle, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7b

The Bible isn’t clear on what Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was, but the phrase was used in a metaphorical state rather than a literal thorn in his flesh. We know this because he refers to the thorn given to him as ‘a messenger of Satan’.

It could have been a physical, spiritual, or mental ailment that Paul dealt with—whatever it was, he was given this “thorn” to keep him from becoming prideful. Paul was commissioned directly by God to spread the gospel and could’ve easily had an opportunity for bragging rights because of it, but the thorn acted as a reminder to not do so.

This thorn must’ve been a constant nagging or nuisance to him. Three times he prayed for it to be removed, yet God refused. (vs. 8)

God had purpose for the thorn in Paul’s flesh and it’s shown as we read and witness Paul’s strong character, humble mannerism, and zealous heart for missionary work.

The fact that Paul’s thorn in the flesh is never thoroughly described (as to what exactly he was dealing with) gives me hope; it makes it easy to relate and apply this scripture-insight to my own struggles.

Further on in verse 9 God drops this unarguable declaration on Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul doesn’t make any attempt to resist, rather his immediate and confident response in verse 10 is this: “That is why, for Christ sake, I delight in weaknesses, and insults, and hardships, in persecutions, and difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Don’t miss those words. A humble Paul sets a perfect example submitting to God’s will, nevertheless, with a thorn in tote and a messy past behind him—knowing his strength is because of Christ.

I know I’m not alone in my struggles. Those words of understanding between God and Paul are as much for Paul’s encouragement as they are for us. Some of you reading this post and these scripture verses right now are suffering mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally just like I do at times and we need to hold onto the promise of hope held in these verses.

Let’s back up just one more time to what God proclaimed over Paul in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Whew!! Good stuff.

This means that even in my weakness, in your weakness…God’s mercy and grace remain—regardless of negative circumstances.

At times my husband and I want nothing more than to pack up and move away from these old stomping grounds of ours. A chance at a fresh start where no one knows our past. We live in the very place where we once ran wild…but every attempt we’ve ever made toward moving away has always been shot down.

And in the midst of that I can feel God’s leading over our lives: ‘Right here is where I’ve placed you, and here is where you’ll stay. In this place, at this time, is where I’ll use you…even when you feel weak…I’ll use you for My purpose, through My power and My strength.’

…I’m in awe when I evaluate and take inventory of the ways He indeed has used us—regardless of our vulnerability, weaknesses, or insecurities.

I feel grateful as I teach 4th and 5th graders each Sunday morning at church, honored to help lead youth group over a bunch of crazy jr. high kids, and humbled when I take the opportunity to share God’s word with others…all for His purpose…even if it means I must do it with a thorn in my flesh.

God’s power transcends my weakness every time.

Wednesday night Pastor Trevor talked to our youth kiddos about ‘putting your past behind you and moving into the future with God at the top,’ and I want to leave you with the very words he gave them, “Getting past your past, means giving God your present.” …Goodness, I just love the simple, straightforward truth in that message!❤️

I’m heading to a lake-house cabin this afternoon for a relaxing weekend with some good friends from church, looking forward to it!! Hoping you all have a blessed weekend as well!!

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Author: alimw2013

About For His Purpose~ My name is Alicia and I'm a thirty-something year old who loves Jesus. Only through God’s amazing grace and mercy I have been redeemed from past regret and shame. Reading His word has allowed me to look past Satan’s forceful lies, to see myself for who Christ says I am in Him. Through writing I have learned why I made the choices I made in my younger years and I now have a better understanding of why I desire to love God like crazy these days. Despite my daily failures, God remains faithful always. I am reassured of His unconditional love for me by every ink-drop spilled out on paper, each committed prayer as I cry out to Him, and deep understanding reflected through reading His word as truth. Yes keeping a blog will make me vulnerable to others’ opinions- there will be some who don’t understand, some who may criticize or judge, but on the other hand if just one piece expressed through my writing grabs someone’s attention and directs them to God, then pouring out my heart in a blog for the world to read is worth it. I choose to glorify Him alone through words streaming across a glowing screen. And it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t reveal the fact that I’m incredibly quirky; I’m my loving husband’s best friend, my vivacious kids’ craziest cheerleader and spiritual trainer (3 John 1:4). I love anything farmhouse and rustic style. I think cupping a warm coffee mug in the palm of my hands is more satisfying than the contents within. I share a common obsession with my husband for the mountains, but I would (without a doubt) settle for waves crashing against my legs at the Atlantic Ocean just as well, and I almost always have a Yorkie curled up on my lap while writing. *All photos are photographed by forhispurpose.blog and therefore may not be stored or photocopied in any manner.

23 thoughts on “A Thorn In My Flesh”

  1. It’s passages like this that really reminds me that biblical characters were not just serious statues of stone, but rather real people with frailty. It’s not a downer for me because it helps me in my own frailties. Good reminders here. Have sweet times at the lake. Recharge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband and I have the same “calling” to stay where we grew up. We tried to go to Scotland. Tried to talk ourselves into believing it was God’s will. It wasn’t and it fell through. The years after the failed attempt to leave were the hardest times of my life. I’m not sure why. But some of the fall-out from trying to leave was the result. We made it through to the other side and are stronger because of it. Thanks for the great post! It has made me think about that time again and how good God was during the hard times.

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  3. Beautiful! Your story reminds me of the Gadarene. He wanted to leave town and follow Jesus after he was delivered. But, Jesus said, “no!” Imagine that! Jesus sent him right back to the people who knew all about his sin and that man evangelized the entire town. By the time Jesus came back, the people were ready and waiting for healing and deliverance of their own. God works in the craziest ways! 🙂

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    1. Yes He does, you’re right!! And ya I love that story…I’ve wanted to feel sorry for that man because he doesn’t get to go with Jesus like he wanted to …but I have to remember it was Jesus giving him the instructions to stay!❤️….and to use him!
      Thanks for reminding me of this story and yes it is quite similar circumstances to mine and my husband’s!

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  4. Hi Alicia! Am glad I have found your blog. Am yet to go through your testimonies. I am big on testimonies coz I have also shared my life with the world. Stuff that I thought would be hidden for life. But God had other plans. He wanted me to share my story with the world. On the thoughts part, you are not alone! It is a daily basis process for me to continually cast down thoughts in the name of Jesus! Satan tries to control us through condemning us for our past. But there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! Hallelujah! For we walk according to the spirit and NOT according to the flesh thanks to Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes praise Jesus!!! He is my only hope and it’s through Him I pursue on daily but oh how Satan tries to trip me up…thank God I’m no longer just simply believing in Him but I’ve learned that continual deep relationship with Him is what keeps me positive and on the go!!❤️

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