"even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.—2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
When vacationing in Arizona, I had the bright idea of taking some photos of the cacti at the resort. Apparently, if you get too close to a certain type of cactus the limbs can dismember. Out of nowhere, I feel something on the top of my foot (that would be while wearing flip flops). There was a piece of cactus the size of a large cucumber on the top of my foot attached to both my flip flop and foot. OUCH! Some how I managed to get if off and hobble back to my room, hoping it wasn’t poisonous.
There must have been 100 spines across the top of my foot. As my husband was taking out each thorn, I kept thinking, there has to be a lesson/devotion in this besides, never take photos of a cactus wearing flip flops, but what is it? Here is it over 4 months later and those splinters that I thought would work their way out can still be seen on the top of one of my toes. With certain movements of my toes, I can feel the discomfort of what still remains and I am reminded of what happened.
While the thorn in Paul’s flesh in 2 Corinthians 12, may not have been a physical thorn, how many of us have had something that God hasn’t removed from our life? Even though it has been nearly 24 years since I was widowed and my memories have faded, that pain can still be triggered. God hasn’t completely eliminated those feelings because He doesn’t want me to forget what I learned during that time in my life….His love, grace and mercy for me are the same now as they were during that season. It also serves as a reminder that despite my weakness that I have the power of the Holy Spirit that gives me the strength to put one foot in front of the other even when I don’t think I can.
You could have a chronic health issue that isn’t getting better no matter how much you ask God to take it away. Or, you could be dealing with the aftermath of a poor decision that you made. It is during these times when you are either dependent on God to get you to the other side or you keep on going in the wrong direction letting that thorn sink deeper and deeper into your wandering soul.
I thank You for loving me and being faithful even when I am not. Rather than dwelling on my circumstances, help me to turn my focus upward and not inward. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in my weakness. I praise You that despite my inadequacies that through the Holy Spirit, You are able to work through me and my sufferings. It is in the name of Jesus that I pray these things. Amen.
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”—1 Corinthians 14:33a (ESV)
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