"Therefore, in order 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
God Wills Your Suffering ...
Maybe God doesn't want you to thrive, succeed, or float on the fairy boat of greatness. Maybe the road He has laid out for you involves trudging through difficulty, slogging through sorrow, and offering up a whole lot of tear filled prayers.
If you would ask the Apostle Paul if life was a bed of roses, he would have gave a resounding YES! But he'd also say that the petals are typically missing.
God had given him a thorn in the flesh. Translation: Thriving, in many senses, was not God's plan for Paul. Providence had ordained a slew of sufferings, hardships, roadblocks, setbacks, weeping, anguish, and detours.
Of course, Scripture doesn't tell us what the nature of the thorn was. We are simply left with a prickly metaphor and an ominous reference to a demonic ambassador. Hardly anything you might call clarity.
But the point of suffering is clear. This wasn't a minor prick or "owie." It was given "to torment." Literally, it could be translated, "to rap with the fist." In other words, this satanic thorn threw punches like Mohamad Ali.
What was the Lord thinking? Didn't God know that Paul's ministry could have been even more successful if he hadn't had this messenger of Satan constantly socking him? Think how the Roman world could have been won to Christ. How many more converts could Paul have made? How much more amazing work could have been done?
The truth is God is often more concerned with the amazing work going on inside us. He might want us to slog along because it means deeper spiritual growth.
This past year's inflation wasn't kind to your wages. You know why? The answer is not merely because men have mischievously tampered with the monetary system. It's primarily because God wanted you to feel the financial pinch and understand what it means to rely upon him.
You know why (enter annoyingly constant household problem) keeps popping up? Sure, its because (enter all names that apply) are woeful sinners. But it's primarily because God wants to shape you. He wants you to know that His grace is sufficient.
The list of pains, trials, and circumstances may vary, but it is still the same outcome. The Lord may not want you to thrive in this world. He might give you the Job treatment and earnestly call you to character development.
Ministry Information Meeting This Sunday during our fellowship lunch Jon Mould will give a short presentation on the Afghan refugee sponsorship program. We'd love your participation and feed back as we seek to discern whether or not the Lord is calling us to this ministry opportunity.
Reformed Audio Resources Plug it in and grow. Listen to great lectures from some of the best seminaries around. Dabble in various courses, such as Church history, Music & Christian Aesthetics, The Parables and Miracles of Christ, the Doctrine of God, and many more.