Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Thorn

2 Corinthians 12:6-8 (NIV)

6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

I have a thorn in my flesh that I have struggled with for many years.  Recently, I began reading a book on suffering that I've mentioned.  My hope in reading this book was that it would help me process through this thorn and come to terms with it.

This morning I read an essay in the book by J.I. Packer about this passage.  The passage was addressing first the claim of many Christians that we should pray for healing and that if we are not healed, then we do not have enough faith.  Packer points out that even in Jesus' day, he did not heal all--and it wasn't because they didn't have enough faith.  It was because he healed purposefully--for His purposes.

We expect physical and mental health today.  We expect that such healing should happen this side of heaven, but Scripture tells us otherwise.  It is in heaven that we can expect such healing.

These thorns keep us humble--they thwart our pride, arrogance, conceit, and selfishness.

I can see that my thorn keeps me humble when I accept it.  When I don't accept it, I grumble and stumble.  I am not able to accept the Lord's help and strength to bear it while I'm grumbling.

I have been living in fear the past few weeks of when it would arise again.  I never quite know when it will come again.  That is the wrong attitude for me to have.

There was another story in the book by Corrie Ten Boom in which she tells a story of a conversation she had with her father.  She asks him if she will have the strength she needs.  He asks her about when she goes on a train ride--when will he give her the fare?  Will he give it to her right before or a few weeks ahead?  She answers that only right before will he give it to her so that she won't risk losing it.

So it is with the strength I need to bear my thorn in my flesh.  I have to realize that God will give me the strength to bear it when it is time and anticipating it does me no good, but only steals my joy from today.  These are hard things for me accept and take into my heart, but I know I must.  I hope I can do this and I would appreciate your prayers that I would be able to.

No comments: