“Because of these surpassingly great revelations… to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7

What is it that keeps you on your knees before the Lord? What is your “thorn” that keeps you humble?

Our God desires that we always keep close to Him, seeking Him with humble, reverential awe of His holiness. He longs for us to abide with Him… to stay before Him in faithful prayer… to lean into Him when hardship arises. We are to trust Him unreservedly with our days and our lives.

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven… up to Paradise. The things he heard were too sacred for words, things that man is not permitted to tell.” – 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4

The apostle Paul shared with the church of Corinth a most amazing experience. He was caught up to the heavenly realms, seeing wondrous visions and hearing inexpressible things. These incredible revelations could have caused him to think himself to be privileged, special in the eyes of the Lord.

Yet God had great plans for Paul. He could not use this apostle mightily if he were spiritually proud. God needed a man who would serve Him with reverence, awe and humility. For a challenging mission lay ahead for him… to bring the good news of salvation to the Gentiles. Paul would need to remember the One who made him worthy of the task.

Our God reigns supreme in all the universe… with all power and authority over evil. All is sifted through His omnipotent hands. All is orchestrated by His wisdom and omniscience. He chose to allow a thorn to afflict Paul.

There has been much debate over the centuries as to exactly what this thorn may have been. Whether temptation or trouble, physical or spiritual, it was allowed there for a higher purpose decided in the mind of God.

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’”  – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

The Lord heard Paul’s prayers to remove the thorn and answered him with a loving denial. It may not have been the answer this apostle wanted, yet it was the one he needed. God’s grace would forever be sufficient for him. The Lord’s faithful presence would always be assured.

What the enemy means for evil, God turns for good. The thorn did not break Paul… it made him humble. For the Lord does not work through ones who are self-exalting, self-sufficient, self-governing. Any torment of Satan in Paul’s life was overpowered by the divine. God’s purpose always prevails.

“I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul basked in this revelation. He saw through the lens of God the purpose for his many times of trial, opposition and persecution. For they kept him on his knees before the Lord. By them Paul maintained his right view of God as holy, awesome, deserving of all reverence… his certain source of courage, strength, forbearance.

The work Paul was called to do could not be done without supernatural power… power from on high… the mighty power of Christ. Only through his weakness could God prove strong for his life’s mission. Any boasting by this apostle was not in his own greatness or accomplishments. Any glory would be for God alone, not himself. Any victory would be God’s, not his own.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” – James 4:10

Always God is to be lifted high in our lives with awe and due reverence. Staying on our knees before Him means seeking His face… in good times and bad. Staying humble before Him. Seeking His guidance and revelation, His comfort and love. Basking in His divine grace, His good will toward us.

Prayer is the way to maintain our vital, sacred connection to God. As we present our requests to Him, we believe by faith that He hears and answers our heartfelt prayers. If our lives were without troubles, we would see no need for Him. When we face hardship of any kind, we look to His mighty power to carry on… His wholly sufficient grace to see us through.

Trust that any “thorn” in your life is part of God’s divine purpose, allowed for your best interest. For His power and grace are manifested in our weakness, our humility. Let Him keep you pliable, open, receptive to His work in your life. Let Him keep you humble and ready for any mission He has planned for you. Trust Him with your heart and your life.