“To keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.” 2 Corinthians 12:7
We do not know how much of Paul’s rich, beautiful life, and his noble work for his Master — he owed to his thorn. Just so, we do not know how much we are indebted to our sufferings and sorrows. Our richest lessons — are the fruit of pain, of weakness, of sorrow.
There is not one of us who has not his own thorn. With one it may be a bodily infirmity or weakness. With another it is some disfigurement which cannot be removed. It may be some difficulty in circumstances, something which makes it hard to live beautifully.
The Master told Paul that his thorn was necessary to him — to save him from becoming proud. We may think of our thorn, too — as something we need. Instead of allowing it to irritate us or to spoil our life — its mission is to make us sweet, patient, loving. Many people beseech the Lord to take away their thorn. Yet it may be, that the prayer is not answered, will not be answered, should not be answered. It may be, that the thorn is necessary to keep them humble at God’s feet.
God sends some of our best blessings to us in our thorns, and it will be a sad thing if we thrust them away and miss them.
J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.