“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Corinthians 12.7 NIV).
Besides Jesus, no one in this world will ever be perfect. In fact, every strength God has given someone is directly tied to a weakness that God has also sanctioned. Paul had amazing revelations from God, but he also had a thorn that kept him humble. When we look at someone who excels in an area, we can also assume that there is an area in which they struggle. God uses the works of Satan to keep us dependent on His mighty hand. It will be far too easy to fall into the trap of self-reliance if our weaknesses were never exposed. So instead of letting us wander into our own inadequate abilities, God permits a thorn to be placed in our flesh. This thorn twinges our nerves whenever we get too reliant on our own strength, willing us to stay close to the Lord. When we admit our weaknesses and give them to the Lord, God is able to pour out His strength into our raw areas. However, if we hide these weaknesses and pretend that they don’t exist, we circumvent God’s power in our life. It is much better to admit that we have a thorn, knowing that everyone—even the Apostle Paul who led much of the world to Jesus—has a thorn that forges a secure reliance on God.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41.10 ESV).