These thorns look wicked! And they seem so innocent surrounded by those delicate yellow flowers. The spiny surface of a cactus plant seems incongruent with the fragile beauty of a flower petal. For the unsuspecting, those thorns could be overlooked when reaching for the flowers and could inflict some real pain.
In today’s verse, Paul is describing a thorn in the flesh. It was sent by Satan in order to torment him. But in God’s hands it was used for a good purpose; to keep Paul from becoming conceited. Paul had received some incredible visions and revelations from the Lord and the temptation was to boast and feel that he was better than others. Some believe his thorn was a physical ailment. Others believe it could be a person as enemies and neighbors are described as thorns (Numbers 33:55 and Ezekiel 28:24)
A relationship that has gone sour, a conflict that goes unresolved, or a family member that has no interest in reconciliation can all be like a thorn in the flesh. But whether it is a broken relationship or a broken body, the pain and discomfort from those thorns are a constant reminder that I am weak. Thankfully, He uses the thorns for good in my life as well. It is through thorns that I discover that His grace is all I need (verse 9). For me those beautiful flowers are evidence of Christ’s power resting on me despite my weakness!
Thank you Lord, that I can delight in Your strength regardless of the “thorns” in my life!