Thorns That Don't Prickle
"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."1
"Around the turn of the century a young man named Ole took his girlfriend on a summer outing. They took a picnic lunch out to a picturesque island in the middle of a small lake. She wore a long dress with about a dozen petticoats. He was dressed in a suit with a high collar. Ole rowed them out to the island, dragged the boat on to the shore, and spread their picnic supplies beneath a shady tree. So hypnotized was he by her beauty that he hardly noticed the hot sun and perspiration on his brow. Softly she whispered to him, 'Ole, you forgot the ice cream.'
"Ole pulled the boat back to the water and rowed to shore. He found a grocery store nearby, bought the ice cream, and rowed back to the island. She batted long eyelashes over deep blue eyes and purred, 'Ole, you forgot the chocolate syrup.'
"Ole got back into the boat and returned to the store for syrup. As he rowed back toward the island, suddenly he stopped. He sat there in the boat the rest of the afternoon, fascinated by an idea. By the end of that afternoon, Ole Evinrude had [in his mind] invented the outboard motor. And by the way, Ole later married the girl who waited so long on the island."2
As the old saying goes, when life presents you with a lemon, turn it into lemonade! For the Apostle Paul his "thorn in the flesh" (whatever it was) was used by God to keep him humble and effective in his work for the Lord. For me personally (as I've shared before), it was when I felt God put me on the shelf that I turned to writing for something to do—I'm still writing some fifty years later. In every challenge, setback, failure, discouragement, there is an opportunity. When you face a daunting challenge or a major setback in your life, with strong desire, commitment to God's purpose for your life, and seeking His direction, you, too, will discover what your opportunity is.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I'm faced with a challenge, setback, or discouragement, please help me to discern what opportunity You have for me in it, and then pursue it with all my heart. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 12:7 (NVI).
2. From http://www.esermons.com/.