“…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh,
the messenger of Satan to buffet me,
lest I should be exalted above measure” (II Corinthians 12:7).
Have you ever had a nagging situation that never seemed to go away? The Apostle Paul did. He called it a thorn in the flesh. Perhaps you’ve gotten tangled out in the woods before, going through a patch of wild blackberries. Or maybe you’ve had a run-in with one of those wicked thorn trees.
The worst thorns in life are not illnesses, overdue bills, or leaky roofs. They are people. Nagging, griping, insulting, or just plain rude people can get under our skin quicker than anything.
Often family members can be the first to jab you in the side. Even God calls certain people a thorn in the side (Numbers 33:55; Judges 2:3; Ezekiel 2:6). No doubt, Paul had to deal with an irritating person who just wouldn’t go away.
So he prayed about it. And he prayed again. And again, he cried out and sought God to intervene. And the Lord told him he wasn’t going to remove the thorn.
Thorns aren’t all bad in God’s eyes
Perhaps they help us see our own faults better. Perhaps they keep us praying. Even our Lord Jesus had His thorns. Peter, John, and Judas are just a few of the briers He had to deal with.
Our Lord wore literal thorns on His head when His murderers were mocking Him. They put a crown of thorns on Him and whacked Him over the head with a stick (Matthew 27:29-30). And He said nothing. He didn’t let the thorns, both real and figurative, get to Him.
Love in spite of prickly people
How can you and I survive the thorns God allows into our lives and still love these people and treat them kindly? Let’s do what Jesus did before He faced His thorns: pray.
As recorded by Paul in II Corinthians 12:9, we can then receive the promise from Him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.“ What doesn’t kill us makes us better, if it draws us closer into the presence of the Lord.
When life hands you thorns, blossom like a rose.