«For when I am weak, then I am strong» (2 Corinthians 12:10).
“Honey, I think that’s your thorn,» my dad declared point blank one afternoon while I twisted in pain from one of the frequent migraines I had suffered from since I was very little. Maybe that statement sounds blatant, but I understood what he meant. I was familiar with Paul’s mention of the thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7) and, although the Bible doesn’t specify what that thorn was, Paul says it had been given to him so he wouldn’t exalt himself. He had asked God to take it away but, like many other times, God had other plans.
I don’t remember if I prayed that afternoon asking for my headache to be taken away. But I do remember that from then on, I thought twice before asking for my migraine to disappear completely.
In an Adventist Ministry article entitled «The Miracle of the Thom,» Pastor Charles Wesley Knight mentions that what we often consider to be most bothersome or painful can be precisely an antidote preventing us from being lost.
I know that to you the following example may seem a bit crude and limited, but it helped me understand the concept a bit better.
One day I had the hiccups for many hours. I was sick and tired of the noise it made, of not being able to muffle it, of how inappropriate it seemed. At that moment, I thought, “How good it would be never to have the hiccups again! Tomorrow, when they’re gone, I’m going to remember how bad it was and I’ll be grateful the entire day. I’ll remember the hard time I had with the hiccups.”
But that didn’t happen. The new day came and, sure enough, the hiccups were gone. But I didn’t remember my promise of gratitude.
Now, on a larger scale, could something similar happen to us if we forget that we’re imperfect, not self-sufficient and that need to daily turn to God so He will remind us of who we are and that it is He who sustains us?
It’s not a Machiavellian plan to allow those discomforts, but rather a divine solution, within our bad decisions and the consequences of sin, to our problem of selfishness and pride.
Our thorn can become our greatest strength and blessing, if placed in the hands of the Almighty. He explains paradoxes. He shows His marvelous strength in the greatest weakness and can transform your discomfort into the best opportunity.