Monday, February 18, 2019
by Dr. Paul Chappell
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:7–9
Over the years I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” Many have speculated as to what that thorn was. Some believe it was a problem with his eyes or perhaps another physical ailment, perhaps caused by the beatings and stonings Paul received. But very few people think of the thorn in the flesh in terms of it being a gift. Yet, that is how Paul described it. When he said, “there was given to me a thorn,” he used the same Greek word that Jesus used when He taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). We find such gifts unwelcome, but God sends them so that His grace can be manifest.
George Matheson, the Scottish preacher who wrote the beautiful hymn “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go” knew about hardship because of the blindness he had to deal with throughout his ministry. Matheson wrote, “My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory. Thou divine Love, whose human path has been perfected through sufferings, teach me the glory of my cross, teach me the value of my thorn.”
Today’s Growth Principle:
Often we are reluctant to receive hardship and difficulty from God, but they are part of His plan for us.