“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” 2 Corinthians 12:6-7
God does not promise any of us a care-free life like some of the celebrities in North America seem to be enjoying every day. “Why me?” we are tempted to ask. Only God can know all the reasons, but according to this scripture reading it is sometimes God’s way of teaching us to depend more upon Him; sometimes that is a tough pill for this North American to swallow on some days. Paul tells us that God purposefully allowed satan to torment him. The Bible teaches us that satan is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and therefore we may assume that he is allowed to attack many of God’s children here in North America, in Haiti, in Nepal and throughout this world.
I don’t ever recall at this moment what Paul’s particular ‘thorn’ may have been. When I see the word ‘thorn’ it reminds me of what my ‘senior’ feet seem to feel like when they touch the floor every morning when I arise. It seems that perhaps this ‘thorn’ in Corinthians may be more about pride. We in North America have many thorns to deal with, who happens to be “Number One” this year, new boat, new house, new gold watch; and the list goes on and on, we are proud of so many things. Not every thorn has to do with pride, but perhaps more do than we would like to admit. Regardless of the reason, this we can know; God will not allow thorns to afflict His children without first there being a divine reason. But what we need most to understand is that God’s reason is not for the purpose of punishment, but rather for the purpose of provision.
The attached photo is a stark reminder for me, to give thanks for where I live, what I have and most importantly ‘Who’ made all this possible. This woman who lives just East of Gonaives is holding her two small children and they don’t have the ‘stuff’ that we have in North America. I cannot imagine hearing her boast about anything, but I can tell you that when she receives a blessing from you, it is as if God placed the energy bar into her hand instead of you. Why can’t my ‘thank you’ be like her “THANK YOU?” Satan must be smiling as we wallow in our wealthy ways and seldom give thanks to God for all that we have, the words may be in our mouth but our hearts have difficulty embracing how blessed we truly are by his providence every day. Please don’t doubt my sincerity when I thank you for supporting feeding programs in Haiti. The over 24,000 children thank you and will see you one day in Heaven where there will no longer be any thorns in your side or in their lives as they run to hug you.
Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay