“…‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’…” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).
Pastor George Matheson once prayed, “My God… I have thanked you a thousand times for roses, but not once for my thorn.” Matheson’s point was that sometimes God allows us to suffer the prickly and painful things in life. Still, God can use these very things to bring us closer to and make us more reliant on him. God has a way of twisting the tragic into the triumphant. This, I think, is why God doesn’t remove every thorn or calm every storm of life.
The Apostle Paul speaks of a thorn in his flesh. While we aren’t certain what Paul’s particular thorn was, we do know that it did what thorns do. It irritated him. It nagged him. It hurt him in some way. And Paul wanted it gone. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8, NIV), Paul states. Still, God did not remove Paul’s thorn. But here’s what God did do and say, “…‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’…” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV). God was giving Paul something greater than relief from his thorn. God was offering Paul grace. It’s as if God was saying, “Paul, you have to take this thorn in your flesh, but I took the nails in mine. And because of that I can give you grace.”
The grace of God, purchased by Jesus at the cross, is sufficient for each of us. It covers our sins completely. And while we may fall victim to the thorns that hurt us in this life, we have a certain victory in the next life through the wounds of Jesus. We have eternity in Heaven that awaits us. So, I thank God for the thorns in my flesh, but even more so, I thank God for the nails in his.