Thorn in the flesh.
An annoying, compelling problem that just won’t go away.
The Bible tells us that Paul had such a problem.
And He asked God three separate times to remove it from his life.
But God didn’t – He had a reason for it.
Now most of us have probably heard that the reason for it to remain was to shape Paul’s character. To teach him to rely completely on God. After all, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
The Lord Himself said, "My grace is all you need."
And there can be no other reason that is more necessary, more powerful than this. That we are to learn humility, total dependence on God. That we are unable, in our own strength, to live a righteous life. We have to rely on Spirit-filled power.
But sometimes I wonder…
Is there maybe another reason?
In the book of Job, we have a unique glimpse behind the curtain of this life. We see a dialogue between the enemy and God.
Satan basically says, "Oh sure, Job worships You because You have blessed him with health, wealth, and happiness. Well, with all those gifts, who wouldn’t worship you?"
And then, the challenge begins.
Of course, in the end, Job learned a mighty lesson. He learned that the answer to "Why?" is really a person – a Someone – the Almighty I AM of the universe.
He learned humility, and dependence, and obedience. He learned what it means to trust God, even when – especially when – He doesn’t make sense.
Yes, a mighty lesson indeed.
But, I think there’s something else going on. Because I think someone else learned a lesson.
God does not need to be defended. He does not need to be proven right. His victory is not in question.
But Scripture makes it clear that there is a war raging in the unseen realms. And we play an integral part.
"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
We must engage in the struggle until Jesus returns, for the enemy is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord’s side.
And so, I think powerful victories are won when God’s children stand – when they stand in the middle of suffering, and tribulation, and persecution, and hardships.
I have a picture in my mind – a huge battlefield.
And the devil’s army is pushing strong into our ranks – some of our troops might be in retreat.
But when we stand up, when we stand strong in the Lord’s power, something happens.
Can you see the surge reverse?!
Thorns in the flesh.
Who knows what happens when we fight on in spite of them?
I think the devil does – and he doesn’t like it one bit.
"Lord, Your grace is sufficient. Therefore, I claim my weaknesses for Your sake. I trust that fighting on in spite of them, in Your Spirit’s power, is accomplishing mighty victories. I will wear my thorns like medals of honor."
I hear enemy soldiers falling…
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"