The Apostle Paul liked to boast a lot. It was weird because he’d boast about his suffering or his mistakes or his incapabilities. He usually did this to point people to Christ, and this vision he had gave him another reason to boast:
“…a thorn was given 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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Imagine how that feels having a thorn in your side. It hurts, and all you want is for it to go. All you think is if only. If only I had this. If only I was like this. If only I lived
These thorns, they make us inadequate. We’re not enough with these thorns – the biggest of them all being sin. And despite this we keep trying to measure up so that we can be the best or do the best.
And I’ve realised that if all my efforts were enough, then I wouldn’t need Jesus. He wouldn’t have come down from his throne to suffer the most brutal death in history for my freedom. Jesus didn’t come just to do a noble thing, he came to transform us. Yes, we have value, but nothing we do can measure up. We need God to complete us.
Paul is really aware of this. In his prayer for the Ephesians (3:14-21), he prays that God would strengthen them (v.16) and that they’d be filled with the fullness of God (v.19). The focus here was that God would move, not that the Ephesians would suddenly be able to do all things.
So I wonder what you pray for when you get a thorn. Maybe instead of asking God to take it away so that you can be enough, ask him to be with you. Ask Jesus to be enough for you despite the thorn.