Here's a tid-bit of background to the author of this book...Paul was not a cool cat to know prior to him coming to know Jesus personally. He killed those that loved God. He made it his duty to kill anyone proclaiming God...even had himself believing it was the right thing to do & what he was called to do. BUT THEN...don't you love those words when God is involved?! :) Paul met Jesus on a road & was blinded. This guy...who hated & killed so many good people...blinded now & in darkness. He couldn't see who was around him. He couldn't see where to step & not to step. I'd imagine he pleaded daily that those followers of the ones he killed wouldn't come after him when they heard he was blind. I mean, they could kill him & no one know, right? Well, besides God anyway. But back to Paul...God caused Paul to be in a very weak state. A circumstance that required being dependent on others. A circumstance that required being in a very dark place, & for Paul that darkness was literal due to being blind. A circumstance that required no sign of stability or safety. A circumstance that required being alone with God & God only. Been there?? Maybe you're there right now?? I know I've been there a few times...honestly, I don't know how people make it through without knowing God & His complete love for us individually.
In these few verses in 2 Corinthians, Paul is pleading with God to take this "thorn" from his side. He wasn't just asking...he was BEGGING. He hated this "messenger of Satan," as the NIV Bible puts it. Apparently had God taken this "thorn" from Paul, it would've caused Paul more damage than the thorn itself was trying to cause. Paul states in verse 7 that God allowed this thorn to keep him (Paul) from becoming proud or conceited. Paul received many awesome revelations from God that he could have boasted to others about...unfortunately in a "Hey, look at me! Look who I am that God showed this to ME!" kind of way. God knew that this "thorn" would keep Paul's view in perspective. It was cause enough pain that Paul would look to God for comfort.
One of the definitions of thorn is "something that wounds, annoys, or causes discomfort." This "thorn" could be a multitude of things in our lives, but I ask what's your thorn?? For me, it's my anger. Ugh. I hate it, but God's grace is sufficient & in those moments of my human self wanting to RAGE, His grace is enough. His power is perfected in my weakness. Do I always have that outcome? Ha ha, no way! I wish I did, but I do know I'm getting better only by that grace of God's that's enough. :) "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." What does that mean to me? That I can be thankful in those learning moments of anger. That I can know it won't overcome me as the Holy Spirit is in me living & breathing & showing me His grace. That I get to have first-hand experience of God's AWESOME power! What about you? Can you see the "thorn" in your life now being a blessing?? I sure hope so. :)