“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” –2 Corinthians 12:7-10
This is the apostle Paul talking. His thorn. It’s uncertain what this thorn actually was. I don’t believe it was a literal, physical thorn– though that would be mad painful.
Scholars have endless theories on what this thorn could’ve meant for Paul. Some say he could’ve had a speech impediment. Others say it’s probable he had difficulty with vision. Maybe epilepsy or malaria. I (not a scholar lol) think it could’ve been a mental illness. The lack of details forbid a proper diagnosis.
To me, it’s pretty obvious that the thorn wasn’t made known on purpose. The ambiguity of the thorn tells us it really wasn’t important for us to know, because it doesn’t apply to Paul only.
The thorn represents any hinderance or suffering in our lives. Anything that we have to endure for our lifetime.
It’s important to remember the thorn is beneficial. To humble us. To show us our need.
That being said, let me tell you, the thorn IS NOT FUN! Mine is obvious, I’m writing a blog about it. But, that’s not to say that everyone doesn’t have one, because they do. Insecurity, depression, substance abuse, an unhealthy dependence on people, impatience, anger problems, an eating disorder, broken home issues, diabetes, cancer, deficiencies, learning disabilities.. these are just a few possibilities off the top of my head. There are millions!
Everyone has something. If you think otherwise, I’m here to tell you kindly that you’re wrong.
Even the most put together world’s VIP, whose Instagram you stalk regularly that highlights their perfect life, has a thorn. They might not be writing a blog about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
We fall victim to the belief that there are actually people out there with everything. They can’t struggle because I mean come on, look at their perfect insta pictures canoeing with their boyfriend in the French riviera and eating Cinnabon with comedic superstar Aziz Ansari and his cousin Harris.
Mental and physical ailments plague all of us.
While most of us are like why God? It’s key to notice how these thorns are shaping us. They can either destroy us, or push us to become something better. The good news is that God loves us either way. Nothing we can do about that. The thorns He’s given us, though impossible to comprehend why most times, are for our ultimate good.
Because everything He does is either immediately good or eventually good. Eventually meaning maybe not even until we get to heaven will we understand.
While I do love life, I certainly look forward to the promise of heaven.
Where we’ll be completely thorn-less.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore. For the former things have passed away. And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” –Revelation 21:5