Paul’s Thorn vs. God’s Grace

20130622-112327.jpg“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. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV)

How many times have you read this passage like so: “And He said to me, ‘No, you will have to suffer with your thorn for the rest of your life. And if you keep complaining, you may have it a while longer'”?

That’s sort of the way I was taught, and thought to be true until I started looking at this thing called Grace.

See, if Grace meant “No”, we would certainly have a time believing the Good News, don’t you think? Like, “for by ‘No’ you were saved…”, or “they who receive the abundance of ‘No’…”. How about, “Noah found ‘No’ in the eyes of the Lord”? Or even, “the law came by Moses, but ‘No’ and truth came by Jesus”!

What if you were moving from from your house, and asked if you could borrow a truck from me. What would you think if I said, “My truck is sufficient for you, for the true value of my truck is demonstrated when you need it the most”? Does it sound like I was saying, “No”?

I believe the enemy of Grace and Truth has sold that lie to the Body of Christ! God’s Grace is SUFFICIENT! It’s MORE THAN ENOUGH! The truth Paul was trying to teach was, “There is nothing you are facing, or will face, that can’t be covered by God’s Grace.”

Paul’s Thorn? I heard the thorn Paul tried to have removed was bad eyes, a certain disease, even a nagging wife! Yep! After all, Paul and Silas had a son named Timothy… (I’ve heard it said). No, the thorn, or as we would say, the pain in the neck, was a messenger, demon, of satan sent to beat him blow after blow (buffet – KJV).

Read through the Book of Acts and notice all the times Paul got beat up! From his early days of preaching in Damascus and Jerusalem, throughout most of his remaining life, whenever he’d open his mouth to preach, someone tried to shut him up.

I wonder who instigated those beatings? God? No! The devil? YES!

There was a time, after going back home to Tarsus, Paul almost put away his preaching jacket because of the persecution he was enduring. Like us, he found the beatings to be less than desirable. And like us, he asked God to make them stop!

God’s response was one of encouragement and strength! In fact, it made Paul rejoice. Rejoice in beatings, in weakness, in confusion? NO! Rejoice because the infusion of God’s Grace, His help, is FAR GREATER than anything he had to endure!

Later on, in the last chapter of Acts, it appears Paul’s beatings had come to an end, “no man forbidding him.”

Any doctrine or teaching that yields territory to the devil, is of the devil. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are not in cahoots with the devil. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give the opposite! The devil does not want us to understand the things of God. God does. The “messenger of satan” is what Paul called it, not the “messenger of God.”

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”(Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

Remember, we have an invitation to meet with God at His Throne of Grace; His Throne of help. Regardless of how relentless the enemy has been, the help we’ll find at God’s Throne is more than sufficient.

So we can say with Paul:

“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The Thorn loses its power in the Presence of God’s Grace!