Ever had a thorn stuck under your skin? It’s painful and it keeps hurting until you can pull it out. It reminds me of the phrase people use to describe someone who gets on their nerves: “Boy they get under my skin.” A thorn under your skin continues to be painful.
This is what I think about when I read what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7: “for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself (NASB)!” He doesn’t say exactly what that thorn is, but it can’t be good if it’s a “messenger of Satan.” Think of Job 2 where God lets Satan inflict Job with all sorts of maladies. The result is that Job is humbled.
Thorns under our skin can come in all sorts of things that cause us constant pain. It could be people who berate you; the tragic loss of a loved one; or chronic illness. These struggles and the pain they continue to inflict can humble us as they did Job. While some might respond as Job’s wife in Job 2:9: “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” Paul responded similar to Job: “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8).’”
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