Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paul's Thorn in the Flesh... and My Own!

Gratitude Journal -
1. Fireworks
2. Productive weekends...
3. Anticipation of "Grandkid" visits!!!
(their parents too, of course)
4. Resting after they leave...
5. Exciting news for a great young couple

Paul's Thorn in the Flesh... and My Own!

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! 2 Cor. 12:7

Throughout my years of ministry I have heard many differing opinions regarding Paul's thorn and what it might have been. Some indicate that he walked with a limp; others have said that his conversion on the Damascus Way blinded him and/or caused sight problems for the remainder of his life. Several joke-sters have indicated he 'must have been married.' Obviously, no one really knows...

But I know my own thorn! While I am not trying to be coy nor do I want to bait anyone into '20 questions', I will not share my thorn. But I know it is there. It has been with me for years - probably since birth. But it is mine...

There are days when I am comfortable with it, like an old shoe. I know it and know its energy and can manage it quite well. There are other times when I am much weaker and struggle mightily to deal with my thorn. I have to wrestle it and fight it and hold it off. It becomes like a monster that will not let me go.

Over these last years of spiritual growth - hopefully some maturity as well - I have come to decide that I benefit most when I acknowledge my 'helplessness' in this struggle and like my brothers/sisters in AA - take it ONE DAY AT A TIME. Some times I am successful. Other times I need a 'sponsor' to call, to pray for me, to walk beside me in silence, to remind me that I am not alone. "Your higher power is available, John. Call for strength and courage and you will make it through to solid ground."

I do not consider myself a 'victim'. I am a human with a 'thorn' like millions of others. It may cause me great personal or professional harm. It may continue to wound me for the remainder of my life. But today, I celebrate that it will not have the final word on my life. I am loved. I was created in God's image. And God has my beginning and my end in His/Her hands. I will not fear. I will live by faith...

My prayer for you is that we can be 'fellow-strugglers' together. I will pray for you and your journey and I give thanks for your prayers for by pilgrimage too.