If you’ve never been poked by thorns, then you’re a pretty lucky person. Whether its roses or bushes, thorns are a pain. They get in the way. They’re frustrating. They hurt. They’re not something we want to deal with.
Paul used thorns to describe something he had to deal with in his life. That’s not pleasant. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 Paul said that “a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'” Paul had a thorn in the flesh. We don’t know what it was but whatever it was it was not good. He pleaded with God to take it away from him three times. Paul was struggling. It was hard. He didn’t want to deal with it. But God’s answer to Paul was for him to rely on the grace and power of God. Paul could overcome his thorn in the flesh. He could deal with it. It was possible with God. God’s strength. God’s power. God’s help. God’s comfort. This is what Paul said in response to the Lord: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul went to God for help. He put his faith and trust in God. He relied on God’s ability and promise to strengthen in order to overcome his struggle. Paul said that with Jesus he could endure anything that faced him.
Do we have any “thorns” that we have to deal with? Thorns can be physical trials or they can be temptations to sin. Pain and suffering physically or emotionally can be thorns that are hard to deal with. It is something that hurts us, hinders us, and weighs us down. Cancer. Losing a loved one. Chronic sickness. Depression. Anxiety. Disease. They are things that show the weakness of our mortal bodies. It is hard to live life with these challenges. What about our spiritual battles with temptation and sin? There can be particular temptations that are a thorn to us. Maybe it’s the temptation to lie or steal. Maybe it’s the temptation to have sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend or to commit adultery. Maybe it’s the temptation to hurt someone physically or emotionally. Maybe it’s using foul language. Drinking or drugs. Being hateful or bitter. It’s different for all of us but they present themselves as thorns in our side that we wish and pray would go away.
Like Paul, we have to go to Jesus for the strength and power to overcome these things. We are weak and cannot do it on our own. We need God. We need His grace. We need His power and love. When we are weak we can be made strong through Jesus Christ. He is there to help. He is ready and willing to give us the strength we need. We can do it because of Him. Whatever thorn you are dealing with right now, take it to Jesus. Go to Him for strength and help. Be strong in the Lord. Don’t try to do it by yourself. Let’s find that contentment in Christ that says I can face anything with Him on my side.