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)
WEAKNESSES KEEP US HUMBLE
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 things both big and small.
Paul was well known during his life. As a young man, he zealously persecuted Christians, but after his conversion on the road to Damascus, he transformed completely, spreading the good news of Christ throughout the known world. Paul was also well spoken—he wrote 28% of the New Testament! Yet in this verse, he mentions his struggle in becoming prideful of his accomplishments.
It can become easy to take credit for what we do well. Even when we know in our hearts 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.
Personally, 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.”
ASKING FOR HELP – SHARING OUR BURDENS
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 as my chronic illness.
When I first got sick, I was on crutches for a couple of months. 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 any consequences. Eventually, a Bible study leader suggested that I ask friends heading the same way to grab my backpack for me. Once I did, I discovered that any friend I asked was willing to go out of her 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 into our lives to remind us that we need Him (While we might feel strong, we are nothing without Him.). These thorns come in all shapes and sizes — and they are painful. However, they are a good reminder for us to give God our burdens — and they can help us to be truly known by those around us.
Lord, help me to 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
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- We can experience thorns of various kinds in our lives. They can be physical, 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 facing?
- How can you welcome one friend into this struggle this week?
Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer
Elyse is a college student 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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