Thorns can be turned into blessings and weakness can be turned into strength when Christ is in you. In this message, we will have five questions to answer.
1. What was the Thorn? – Some scholars think it could have been a physical ailment or disability. It could have been physical, but also it could have been mental or spiritual. We don’t know for sure. For you, the “Thorn in the Flesh” might be a physical ailment or a mental struggle like depression or anxiety that never seems to leave you or it might be a particular person who is getting under your skin. Whatever your thorn, identify it and bring that with you through the rest of the text.
2. Why did God Allow the Thorn? (v. 7) – For Paul, it was to keep him from exalting himself. In other words, humility. There is no space to exalt yourself as a follower of Christ, and God may allow a thorn in your life to keep you humble. There is always a purpose for the pain we are feeling.
3. Why Doesn’t God Remove the Thorn? (v. 8-9) – Three times Paul pleaded, “It hurts LORD, please take it from me.” This is our natural response to the pain. In 1 Cor. 10:13 we read, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation, He will provide the way of escape also so that you will be able to endure it.” You may think “God won’t give me more than I can handle.” But the truth is that “God will not give you more than you can bear with Him.”
4. Why is The Thorn Good for You? (v. 10) – When you allow God to flip the script and turn weakness to strength, you will be content and be more able to endure. That is what Paul says in v. 10, ”Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
5. What Happens when we Don’t Let our Weakness Become our Strength? – We could also phrase it: What happens if we don’t turn to God when life gets too hard to handle? The answer is that the thorn becomes infected. So whatever your thorn is today – loneliness, anxiety, isolation, sadness, shame, sexual temptation, etc… turn to Christ, trust Him and you will be able to endure it.