In 2 Corinthians 12:6-10, we read about the apostle Paul in his weaknesses and struggles. The “thorn in the flesh” is a well-known statement that he makes in this passage. The thorn symbolizes a consistent struggle that Paul had in his life that he pleaded with God to remove, but the Lord chose to leave the thorn and was his strength in the midst of it. Today, I want to share why I am glad we do not know what the thorn in Paul’s side was.

2 Corinthians 12:7b says, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”

Paul was given a thorn to keep from becoming conceited. God often uses our struggles and weaknesses as a way to humble us and make us more reliant on Christ. The thorn was not easy for Paul, in fact it tormented him. Why would the Lord allow this in his life? Why does God allow pain and struggles in our lives? The purpose of our thorns is sometimes unknown to us. We may not have a direct answer like Paul did, however, we can be certain that if the Lord is allowing it, that He is inviting us to Himself in the midst of it.

Have you ever thought about why you have had a certain emotional or physical struggle your whole life? Have you wondered why even though you have prayed, the Lord has not taken away your temptation or your weakness? Paul did too. God makes it clear that He heard the prayers of Paul, but He did not remove the struggle; he left it there to humble Paul and cause a greater dependence on Him.