“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5
Have you ever had a thorn in the flesh? What thorn has God used in your life to remind you of your ultimate dependency on Him? Every thorn is a divinely appointed dart designed to burst the bubble of self-sufficiency.
Many of us, myself included, have a natural bend toward conceit and pride. But even with that natural bend, I still want to know God more and experience Him fully in my life. And if I want to know Him fully, I can be almost certain that those greater revelations from God will come with a side dish of thorns.
If that was true for Paul, then why wouldn’t it be true for us?
A few years ago, John Piper was speaking to some college students about this very thing, and he told them, “If the Lord Jesus delays His coming, some of you are going to live another sixty years inside the tent you call your body.”
I’m sure it seemed like an eternity to these college kids when he said 60 years, but he went on to tell them this:
“The greatest issues that you are going to face will be this: when God makes your body and your soul a theater of revelation and pain, for the sake of your humility, and Satan’s shaming, and Christ’s shining, how will you respond? Will you be like the world, in murmuring, complaining, questioning, and accusing? Or will you be like Paul?”
What he was saying to these students was, “There is going to be a day when everything is going to fall apart. When it does, how are you going to respond? Like the world? Or like Paul?
So, when life hits you, and your world is falling apart, how will you respond? It’s not that Paul wanted the thorn. It was that he understood its purpose. He understood God allowed it, and God was going to use it. What will you do when the divine dart hits your life? Will you look at it the way the world looks at it? Or the way Paul looked at it?