The Mysterious Thorn – 2 Corinthians 12:7

Wake Up Call

No one knows what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was but lots of people claim they know. I’ve heard this preached six ways to Sunday. It was an eye problem; it was his mother-in-law, it was a physical affliction, it was a spiritual issue. There are always good arguments for why theirs is the definitive solution to the illusive thorn mystery.

Paul only tells us this: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” (2 Corinthians 12:7) Even though this is a topic of great curiosity in the Christian world, I’m kind of glad we don’t know.

Why? Not knowing precisely what his thorn was enables us to identify with Paul concerning the hard and mysterious place in our own life. Most of us have one. Most of us have a hardship or ailment or affliction or thorn that seems to defy prayer, fasting, confessing, and all other methods we have used to rid ourselves of it.

It was needed for Paul to assist him in humility but our own thorn may be there for another reason. The important thing is that God was in control even though Satan was the messenger who delivered it. God is in control of your thorn too. Jesus told Paul; “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (Verse 9)

Maybe the thorn is a mystery but the lesson isn’t.