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 12:7-9Paul shares that he was given a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know what Paul’s thorn actually was, but we do know that he wanted to be rid of it desperately. Perhaps the thorn was not identified specifically so that each of us could relate to his battle.
Paul wrestled with God about his undisclosed thorn. He prayed three times for it to be removed. Finally, God answered, but it was probably not exactly what Paul wanted to hear. God said, “No.” Well actually what He said was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God did not remove the thorn. He gave Paul grace to live with the thorn.
All of us have thorns in our lives. A thorn is an area where we feel most vulnerable or defeated. Our thorns could be depression, an irritating neighbor, difficulty at work, a bully at school, or a cancer diagnosis.
As Christians we sometimes think that if we pray hard enough, if we are obedient enough, if we trust enough, or are somehow good enough that we will be spared the painful thorns in life. The Bible doesn’t say that. Nobody gets a pass from difficulty in life.
It has been four years since I received a phone call in my classroom. Four years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four years since my life was forever changed. Now, I am a cancer survivor. Cancer free. I know that I am not the only one that has been touched by the terrible thorn of cancer, but I believe that survival is to be celebrated. To read more about my journey through breast cancer read my series I Wear Pink.
I remember standing in church four years ago singing the song Indescribable and thinking surely the God who placed the stars in the sky and calls them by name could have told the lightening bolt of cancer not to hit me. Not that I wanted it to hit anyone else, but God had allowed it to touch my life. He could have prevented it. He could have removed it before it was even found. He could have. But He didn't. Was there pain? Yes. Did I wrestle with God? Yes. Did He make it better? Eventually. I learned that I could trust Him to be with me in the fire of my battles. You see, the things that were true about God before cancer were the same things that were true when I had cancer.
- · We are more than conquerors through him that loved us and gave himself for us.
- · Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.
- · I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The One who has led me all of my life, walked with me through the fire of cancer, and from each day since. He is indescribable and amazing.
So as we feel the thorny ache in our side, consider the One who suffered more than just a piercing of His side for us. Remember that His power is made perfect in weakness.