The thorn and the gift.

I will not burden you with the full story; you don't have time, and I'm not sure I have the energy. But I couldn't help but share this small bit of the tale.

I have what Paul called a "thorn in the flesh." It afflicts my body, it affects my mind, it hurts. I've been living with it for 10 years and I cannot number for you the times that I have wished/prayed/willed that it go away.

"To keep me from becoming conceited . . . there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. . . . I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me." 2Cor 12:7,8

Yet in these last few weeks I have realized as never before that the thorn, though it hurts, is a gift. God has surprised me with profound blessings in the suffering. I recognize now that through the pain Christ has taught me submission and reverence; He has demonstrated His power to heal and to save; He has chipped away at my self-interest; He has caused me to seek after His glory; He has taught me to trust Him through darkness; He has kept me weak and depending upon Him.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' There fore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses . . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2Cor 12:9,10