Posted by: mikenicholsblog | February 23, 2011

His strength, our thorn

If we were to speak with complete honesty and full disclosure, there is no doubt that all of us would admit there are some individuals who are a thorn in our side, or a pain in the neck. It’s that person that always seems to get your goat. You find yourself going out of your way to avoid them. The issue even gets thornier when that special person is a member of your family. You repeatedly tell yourself, “I am not going to let him/her get to me”, but they always seem to push the right buttons. But as much as we struggle with people who are thorns in our side, I believe the bigger battle is with the thorn in our flesh.

It is easy to name those who irritate us, and it is very easy for us to identify the thorns in our flesh. We may not speak often of our thorns, but I believe we all have issues that are an irritant to us. There is almost universal identification among Christ followers with Paul and his admission of his thorn. Although his problem is not spelled out (many believe it to be an eye ailment), we understand why Paul would pray for it to be removed. There are times when we would do anything for our particular thorn to be taken away. But we must conclude that God knows best, and then glory in our own weakness as Paul did.

II Corinthians 12:7-9
To keep from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me 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.

God chose to let Paul live with his thorn when he could have removed it. Satan used it to torment him. In the Father’s design for Paul, He knew a thorn was needed. I can’t speak for you, but He knows what I need, and evidently a thorn(s) are part of His oversight. Satan wants to torment us, but God’s grace is as sufficient today for us, as it was so long ago in the life of Paul. No matter what thorn you seem to continually battle, there is grace for the moment, and the power of Christ is available.

Although I am not sure who will be reading this, sound logic tells me you struggle with a thorn in your flesh. You may even be a bit weary on the journey. Do not lose heart, my friend, grace is available. Paul embraced his weaknesses, and has been used for centuries to encourage those with thorns. In conclusion to my challenge, please meditate on the passage above in the words of The Message …

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into it’s own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness

Enough said!



  1. I have always liked feeling the effects of working out, which is feeling physically strong. In my humanity, I find it very difficult to deal with my continuing current state of weakness. However, HIS plan is perfect; HE always sees me through each day in my weakness. Praise be to our Lord, God, and King….He must increase, and I must decrease.

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