When you’re going through a trial, it can feel like it’s going to last forever, and you’ll never see the light at the end of the dark tunnel, but I’m here to tell you there will always be a light if you’re fervently searching to find it. Paul knows what it was like to feel this way and gives us great insight into how we can also view our trials.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we quickly learn that Paul has been given a thorn in the flesh because God knew Paul’s character was one that would be prone to arrogance for having the revelations that he did concerning Jesus and the gospel.

In verse 7b, 

“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself” 

What did he mean by a messenger of Satan to torment him? Well, you see it’s no surprise that Satan intends for his torment to be evil but on the other hand, God’s intention is for the good of the person enduring the suffering. God wants Paul to be made a better person through his suffering.

“Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.”…2 Corinthians 12:9

Paul begged to have this thorn in the flesh removed. Instead of removing the thorns, we can pray to replace the thorns with growth and contentment. We all know of someone else who begged for a cup to be removed in a time of suffering. Jesus. Jesus prayed in the garden three times for God to remove this cup from Him because He knew what was coming. Crucifixion was one of the most torturing methods of punishment in Jesus’ time. When Jesus did not get an answer, or at least the answer He had prayed for, He showed all of us how we need to respond to these “thorns in the flesh” we face in our lives, too.

We need to respond in the same way Jesus does in Luke 22:42, 

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 

We have to remember that the suffering we face on earth is only temporary pain, and there is a life with Christ later on that is far more beautiful than having everything we ask to be answered on earth. Jesus knew the whole time what waited for Him when He was done with His work on earth, but that still did not remove the physical pain He knew was coming. He accepted His answer from His Father, knowing what He had been brought here to do. We may not understand the pain we feel at the moment, and we may never get the answer to why we have pain in our lives right now, but I can promise you that remaining faithful and trusting God through every trial will only make you stronger. We sometimes have to accept the pain like Jesus had to in order to keep going, to know we can one day help others through their pain by sharing our experience with them.

In 2 Corinthians 12:10, 

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Have you ever been so confident in something that it helped you feel almost empowered with knowledge in the matter? Paul had this same confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We always say God uses unlikely people for His work, well the truth is, if we fully trust and do His will then the power of the gospel will dwell and work through us in ways we never knew were possible. We can have the confidence and contentment that Paul had in all of his trials that no matter what, in the end, he had God on his side. He trusted God more than himself, and we should, too.

Heather Jones
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Heather Jones, is a 2019 Graduate of Bear Valley Bible Institute with a Bachelors of Biblical Studies. Her and her husband and family live in Vance, Al where her husband, Matt Jones is the pulpit minister at the Mercedes Drive church of Christ. Heather has a book, Good Grief through Kaio publications. Her hobbies include photography, drinking coffee and hand embroidery.