2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Do you have a thorn in the flesh? Perhaps it is fear, a feeling of rejection, or a physical ailment. It could be an irritating person who is a thorn in your side. For Jesus in the Gospel it was a familiarity that bred contempt. For other prophets it meant loneliness and misunderstanding. We aren’t quite sure what Paul’s thorn was. Since something like scales fell off his eyes at his conversion, some think he had an eye problem. Whatever his thorn was, he didn’t want it and pleaded that God would remove it. God didn’t take the affliction away, but as God so often does, he used it for good.
Perhaps the greatest things our sufferings do for us is bring us to the awareness that we are not in control. We must rely on grace. Our weaknesses can become strengths when mixed with God’s grace. Every day, including holidays, our retreat center in Houston is a meeting place for the 12 Step program. People affected by the disease of alcoholism gather, share, gain perspective, and surrender to God’s grace. Their so called weakness becomes a platform of new strength and renewed life. A common saying in the program is: "There, but for the grace of God go I."
Whatever affliction or thorn you may be facing, it can serve a purpose. Your pain will humble you and make you rely on the grace of God that really is sufficient.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 16 books and creator of television and radio programs airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/