As we near Thanksgiving, many people take the time to think about what they are thankful for. Family, friends, pets, and homes are all things that people typically say they are thankful for.
However, when was the last time you heard someone say they were thankful for thorns? Maybe someone might say they are thankful for roses, but thorns? Thorns are ugly and they hurt- why would someone in their right mind be thankful for thorns?
The apostle Paul in Second Corinthians was given a “thorn in the flesh,” though, that served a beneficial purpose in his life. Second Corinthians 12:7-10 says, “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. Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (KJV).
Paul was given something to keep him humble so that he did not get “exalted above measure.” This thorn was painful- so painful that he asked God not once, not twice, but three times for it to be removed. God, though, kept Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” firmly planted because it was serving a purpose. Most importantly, the thorn was showing Paul that even during times of pain, God’s grace is sufficient for him and His strength is made perfect. Paul realized that when we was weak and crippled from his nasty thorn, that is when he was ironically strong because God was with Him and His power was resting on him.
Paul is not the only one who had a “thorn in the flesh.” Sometimes, people have something in their life that they want removed- fears, an illness, unemployment, poverty, depression, etc. They may ask God over and over like Paul did to help them out by removing the painful thorn that is causing pain and problems in their life. However, during that time, God may be teaching them to stay humble and rely on Him like He was teaching Paul.
Whatever the case may be, this Thanksgiving, take time to be thankful for the thorns even though it can be hard to. Even though they may be painful, they allow God to show people His grace and strength- and that is truly something to be thankful for.
Cristina is a Contributor to the Daily Runner.