JEREMIAH 10:19 – Woe is me because of my hurt! My wound is grievous. But I said, “Truly this is an affliction, and I must bear it.”
THEME OF THE DAY. HE WILL NOT REMOVE IT. We each will have one. Obviously, it will vary because of our individuality in our relationship with the Lord, but we are going to have one. And though it will vary in kind, it will not in purposes. The Apostle Paul called it “a thorn in the flesh”. He would mention this in his second letter to the Corinthians – 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. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The purposes of Paul’s thorn in the flesh as well as ours are three, but before we identify them, from today’s scripture, let Jeremiah give us the proper response to the “affliction” of our thorns in the flesh – I must bear it. And that means God will say, “No, I am not removing it. It serves good purposes.” Here they are . . .
First, our thorns in the flesh are designed to keep us from being controlled and influenced by spiritual pride – “So to keep me from becoming conceited (full of ourselves by pride) because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh.” Imagine attending a Bible study and we go around the room sharing what the Lord is doing in our lives. It comes to Paul’s turn and he says, “Well, I went to heaven last week.” Who would want to share after that? So, to prevent pride, God gives us something painful to humble us, and it will not be removed.
Another purpose of our thorns in the flesh is to teach us how sufficient God’s grace is in our lives – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” We won’t experience sufficient grace until we experience the insufficiency of ourselves. God must empty us of ourselves to fill us with Himself. And painful thorns in the flesh will do these marvelous spiritual works in us.
Finally, our thorns in the flesh becomes means to develop a worshipping life of boasting in God. Sounds strange, huh? But listen to the Apostle Paul – “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” His boasting in his weaknesses was not toward himself but means to point to Christ, and when a life is focused on Christ, worship occurs. Always.
So, thorns in the flesh. We have them, and God will not remove them. They are too important in our relationship with Him who does all things well, even the giving of our thorns!
PRAYER: “Lord, if You choose not to remove a difficulty in my life, help me willingly submit.”
QUOTE: “There are things God will not remove in our lives to teach us to depend on Him.”