A Thorn to Keep Me Humble
“And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.” [Job. 2:6.] (2 Corinthians 12:7, AMP)
This verse leads to one of the most frequently quoted passages in the New Testament. In verse 9 Paul says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s grace was a gift to Paul to help him deal with his thorn. Many theologians have written and speculated about the nature of Paul’s thorn. Although Paul fails to give us specifics, he tells us it caused him great pain and anguish. While he recognized the purpose of the thorn was to keep him humble, he goes on to tell us he asked God to remove it three times.
Thinking about thorns, I recall Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. We see in Genesis 3:9-19, that God cursed the serpent to crawl on his belly in dust among thorns and thistles; told Eve she would have to endure the pain of child birth (thorn) then God tells Adam that because of his sin, the ground will be cursed and produce thorns. Work becomes hard, filled with sweat and sorrow, because of his disobedience.
Based on these passages, scholars point to the thorn as a symbol of the curse (empowerment to fail). Life, especially our work, becomes difficult, hard, and painful!
Life is full of thorns. Almost daily we face sticky and prickly situations, people with issues, complex challenges that poke and prod us and make work life difficult.
We’ve coined expressions for these situations. We say, “He sure is acting like he has a burr (thorn) under his saddle” or “My coworker is a real thorn in my side.”
Every Christian should accept that there will be thorns in life. What thorny situations are you facing? Is someone’s prickly behavior causing you pain and making life difficult? Maybe you’re the one going around with a “burr” under your saddle? I encourage you to pray and ask God to show you His purpose for the thorn. Like Paul, walk in humility. Trust God’s grace. His grace is bigger than any thorn.
Lord, thank you for your grace. Jesus, help me to humble myself, to rely on you and trust in your grace every time I face difficult situations in my life. Through the blood of Jesus and in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
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