A Thorn in the Flesh

I believe most of us have a thorn in the flesh by which God is doing a work in us. Something that weighs us down and is a burden that we must carry. It is in how we see this burden that determines whether it will ruin us or shape us into what God has planned for us to become.

When we look inward, we can become bitter and resentful. But when we look upward, we will always find that God never wastes anything, and especially not with our suffering.

This past week I was praying on this topic and heard these words below during my prayer time, recording them as I prayed. I have added some Scripture to go along with them.

God has given to each one of us a thorn in the flesh.

The thorn can be there for different reasons.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV).

It can be physical, or it can be mental, or it can be emotional.

It can be something we were born with or something that happened to us along the way.

But whatever it is, it causes us great anguish.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears” (Psalm 18:6).

It is that thing we must overcome.

It is that thing we must carry with us.

Some say that God will heal all diseases. That there is nothing He would want us to have. But the Word of God does not say that.

“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).

The Word of God says sometimes that He allows a thorn in the flesh that we would be in the right position with Him.

That does not mean we do not pray for healing, but it means we understand Him when He doesn’t.

Learn to let whatever is wrong with you, whatever you are carrying, let it change you.

Don’t squander pain, but let it have its perfect work in you. “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

And that was it, just a few words, but I was so blessed by them. What I know is that the thing we think is hindering us, is actually how God is doing a greater work in us, and then through us. We need to pray for our healing, but accept that for some things God is using them for purposes that we might not yet understand.

The Lord knows what He is doing.

Your circumstances are the hammer and chisel shaping you.

The blessings from God are not always on a bed of roses but are often found within the thorns in your flesh.

God can heal anything, but He will not take away the suffering until it has worked out its purpose.

We can see in Scripture that sometimes there will be a covering up of the specifics in what is wrong. I think that this is so we can relate to the generality of having a burden. Like with Paul and his “thorn in the flesh”. “…to keep me from becoming overly proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh…” (2 Corinthians 12:7 CJB).

Other times in Scripture we will discover what is wrong with the person, like with Jacob who was maimed in his hip. We will also see that every injury or disease is not just from the Devil, as God Himself will sometimes do the hurting. “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man [the Lord] wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him [Jacob], He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint…” (Genesis 32:25).

Pray your suffering accomplishes His will for your life.

Never squander suffering knowing all that God can do through it. Joseph told his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

Look behind the intentions of man, and you will sometimes be so blessed to find the intentions of God.

Before a man can change people, the Lord must change the man. The Lord said regarding the Apostle Paul, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). How few we would have in ministry if they knew in advance all they would go through.

You have to wrestle with God to get the blessing. Faith is always active, whereas doubt will never move. “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man [the Lord] wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him… He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.’ But [Jacob] said, ‘I will not let You go unless You bless me!’” (Genesis 32:24-26).

Grab hold of God, and never let go.

Blessings to you,

Paul Balius

All Scripture is quoted from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Please use the version you prefer to review the verses shown here. The best version is the one you read. An even better version is the one you live.

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