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 infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
The leaves are changing colors. Sweaters are being brought out of storage. Stores are stocking up for all sorts of frenzied sales. It is turkey time once again and you are guaranteed to be interrogated by family and friends.
“What are you thankful for this year?”, they will ask with a piercing stare. You will hear others start to rattle off their list of good things that have occurred to them recently. Uncle Joe will spout out the same list he has since 1995 when the Braves won the world series. However, I can’t ever recall sickness, heartache, trial, cancer, or death ever offered in response.
Paul alleged that he gloried in his infirmities. He claimed that he was thankful that God had given him this thorn in the flesh. He contends that he can find pleasure in it. How could this be?
Paul had realized that this trial that he was facing was ordained by God for his benefit. We don’t have the same understanding or perspective as God. Our troubles may seem designed to break us, but they are purposed to build us. Paul understood that God was molding him into the image of Christ.
This incident cause Paul to seek God for strength. Paul learned more about trusting the Lord, resting in God’s abilities, and enjoying the Father’s grace. This trouble demonstrated the power of God in Paul’s life. It was an advertisement for God’s glory. Paul could look at what he was learning. He could look at what he was teaching others. He could look at the comfort God was giving him. He could look at all this and say, “Thank you, Lord, for this thorn.”
So I ask you, “What are you thankful for this year?”