“Thorn in my Side”: Purpose In The Pain

Something So Small

I had a splinter in my index finger the other day. I realized it when I got home after suddenly feeling a stinging pain. Initially I decided to ignore it and take the tweezers to it later. At the time it wasn’t really giving me pain. I figured I would just avoid directly touching anything with that finger for a while.

As the night progressed I became more aware of it and increasingly annoyed. Nonetheless, I was determined to leave it until the next day. I figured it would come out on its own when it was ready.

Not So Small Anymore

The following morning, it had officially become a huge annoyance and a bigger source of pain and discomfort. By the time I got to work I’d decided it was time to take it out. I waged a full scale attack! Using just my right hand I tried squeezing it out and poking it out. I tried and tried. I was pretty certain I had made good headway in getting most out, but I could see and feel there was still the tiniest piece left. “I could see it.” It felt like there was a piece of glass stuck in there. Seriously! At one point I was convinced, because it hurt so bad.

Getting nowhere I was reminded that I had tweezers in my purse. With nothing to sanitize with I was pretty sure I would infect it, but at that point I didn’t care.

Armed with tweezers I waged a second assault on the splinter. It hurt even worse. I was so frustrated after, what felt like forever, coming up unvictorious. I just began to think, “Man I can’t believe how much pain and frustration one tiny splinter can cause. It’s the smallest thing and it’s causing all of this.”

Letting Go

Finally accepting defeat, I decided, “I’m going to live with it!”

That’s the moment that God laid upon my heart and mind, the Apostle Paul. How Paul writes about the thorn in his side.

“Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.”-2Cor.12:7

It was so small, the thorn in his side, but it served both as a constant source of pain and reminder.

Purpose In The Pain

The thorn was a way for God to keep Paul humble. He does the same with us today. It’s very hard to be proud when something as small as a splinter can inflict so much pain on your entire being. It reminds us how fragile we are.

Some people debate whether or not the thorn in Paul’s side was a literal thorn or more of a metaphor. Regardless of whether it was an actual thorn in his side or not, the message is the same. God gives us all a thorn in our side. In different seasons of our lives it can manifest itself in various ways.

I think initially we all fight our thorn and try to get it out. Get rid of the pain. But maybe, just maybe, God put it there. After enough fighting, Paul had to live with it. So as annoying and painful as it is, I will leave my splinter. It serves as a reminder for me to remember how much I need to rely on God.

So stop fighting. Accept the thorn. Welcome it as a reminder. And start living through the pain.

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