“What thorn is currently impacting your life?” (Elyse Ogbourne)



So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,
a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me,
to keep me from becoming conceited.
(2 Corinthians 12:7)




When we focus on our strengths, we can easily forget our need for God. Just as we need our parents to help us navigate life, we must rely on God for both big and small things.


Paul was well known during his life. As a young man, he zealously persecuted Christians, but he transformed completely after his conversion on the road to Damascus and began spreading the good news of Christ throughout the known world. Paul was also well spoken and wrote 28% of the New Testament. Yet, in 2 Corinthians 12:7, he mentions his struggle of becoming prideful of his accomplishments.


It can become easy to take credit for what we do well. Even when we know that our gifts come from God, we fail to give Him the glory. I often forget to give God credit for achieving good grades or convincingly portraying a character on stage.


I often find it easier to admit my weaknesses to God when asking for His help.

  • “Lord, calm my mind and help me to remember what I studied for this exam.”
  • “Please lessen the pain, even if it is just enough for me to fall asleep.”
  • “Give me the energy to make it through this social event.”




It is more difficult for me to acknowledge my weaknesses to those around me. It is challenging to admit I need help because I am afraid I will only be known for my chronic illness.


I was on crutches for a couple of months when I first got sick. I struggled to make it to class on time with the weight of my backpack, but I didn’t want to admit to my friends how much I needed help. Instead, I talked to my teachers and got permission to arrive late without consequences. Eventually, a Bible study leader suggested I ask friends heading the same way to grab my backpack. Once I did, I discovered that any friend I asked would go out of their way to carry my bag from class to class. I got more out of class and felt loved by those around me.


God may send thorns to remind us that we need Him. These thorns come in all shapes and sizes — and they are painful. However, they are a good reminder to give God our burdens — and they can help those around us truly know us.


Weaknesses (or thorns) keep us humble and can be used to show us how much we need to rely on God. Today, I invite you to consider how God uses your weaknesses to show His strength.




Lord, help me be honest with myself, with You, and with those around me about what is going on. It is tempting to push my weaknesses down so I am not known only for my chronic illness. Help me to see that You are doing something unique with my life, and help me to be open with those around me. I pray they will be encouraged. Amen


  • We can experience thorns of various kinds in our lives. They can be physical or mental or have nothing to do with health. What thorn is currently impacting your life?
  • What is a way you can talk to God about the thorns you are experiencing?
  • How can you welcome one friend into this struggle this week?
Yellow Bubbles
Elyse Simon

Elyse Simon

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Elyse is a recent graduate with a fondness for the outdoors. After a simple slip on the ice left her with chronic pain syndrome, she began to see how God does work all things for good. Armed with Biblical truth and her TENS unit, Elyse uses her experiences to encourage young adults with the message that they can thrive in the face of difficult circumstances.

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