Thorn as a gift

There is a sweet fragrance spread by a gentle breeze in a garden. The gardener explained: Every time the breeze blows, the thorn (prickle) penetrates the petal of the flower, which gives the fragrance. The thorn brings the best out of the flowers. Paul writes about a thorn in his flesh. (II Corinthians 12:7)

Thorn: Thorn and thistles came upon the world because of the Human Fall. (Genesis 3:18) Thorns could choke a plant and make it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:7) Thorn was in a goad that directed tamed animals. A crown of thorns was placed on Lord Jesus’ head by wicked humanity. (Matthew 27:29)

Thorn in the flesh: Thorn in the flesh could be some ailment that frustrated and annoyed or irritated Paul. It made Paul weak if not powerless. In the imperfect world, sickness, diseases, and pain are common for all. Believers also could go through such affliction. Great Apostles like Paul were not exempt from it.

Gift? However, Paul saw that the thorn was given, i.e., a gift. Paul refused to see that as an affliction or attack of Satan, giving unnecessary credit to Satan. Instead, he accepted that as a gift from good God. Nevertheless, Satan was cunning enough to use this thorn to buffet him.

Humility: Paul writes about the great vision he had earlier, which most humans do not have the opportunity or privilege to experience. In that context, he writes about the ‘gift’ from God to keep him humble. That spiritual experience of being taken into heaven could make him proud, and God allowed a thorn in his flesh to remind him that he is human and to be humble.

Pain: First, the thorn created physical pain. Second, it caused emotional pain, stress, and anxiety. Third, it was mental pain, thorns being used to buffet Paul. Fourth, it caused spiritual pain, as Paul’s prayer was not answered.

The grace of God: The antidote for the thorn in the flesh is the grace of God, which is inexhaustible, presently available, sufficient, and will manifest the power of God in his human weakness.

Do I consider adversity as a gift for my spiritual growth?

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