Day 24

    Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent

    April 2nd, 2019

    Meditation
    • What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”? Was it that agitating itch in the middle of his back? You know that itch that you can’t reach, and you need someone to scratch it for you? Was the “thorn in the flesh” a literal “thorn in the flesh”? Did Paul stub his toe on a wooden plank and suffered from an unreachable wooden splinter in his toe? Was the “thorn in the flesh” some addiction that Paul could not break? This is an intriguing text and it has baffled many readers of the Bible. The frustration of trying to identify the “thorn” is coupled with the mystery surrounding the source of the thorn (“a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me,” – (2 Cor. 12:7). The text does not tell us or give us a clue to that which Paul was referring to when he wrote of the agony he experienced. We only know that Paul longed for the removal of this “thorn in the flesh”.

      Those who struggle with addiction can probably identify with Paul’s plea to God for relief. No one who is addicted desires to remain addicted. Addiction is a suffocating reality that drains an individual of energy and life. It ruins relationships. It impacts job performance. It brutally impedes one’s journey with God. While the cause and source of addictions are myriad, all addictions prove to be an inadequate replacement for the grace of God. Even the relief from addiction pales in comparison with a life succumbed to the grace of God.

      What is your “thorn in the flesh”? Are you experiencing the crippling effects of addiction (drugs, pornography, eating, shopping, something else)? Do you long to be free from the addiction? Paul’s testimony would suggest that God’s grace is more than capable to meet any of us in our weakness. Coming into close contact with the grace of God offers us grand possibilities of healing and wellness. God’s grace fills the holes that are created when our deepest longings and cravings go unfulfilled. God’s grace will transform our weaknesses into strengths. Pray today for the blessing of God’s healing grace.

    Scripture(s)
    • 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

      Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

      12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Contributor

    Dion Frasier

    Preaching Minister
    Reynoldsburg Church of Christ

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