“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” — 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Recently, I began to devote more of my time to getting back into reading my Bible more in depth as I should be. Enveloping my soul with The Word Of God. Just the other day, I came across a passage that struck me like an arrow with my name carved intently into it. The passage that you see above.
Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh
No one knows for sure what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. There have been a variety of theories set out, such as a chronic sickness and bad eyesight. It continues to remain unknown because the Bible does not say with certainty. This doesn’t mean one can’t offer some well thought out suggestions but here are some relevant Scripture I’ve come across in relation.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, “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! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.” This problem may have been the same one he mentioned in Galatians 4:13-14, “but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.” Neither verse mentions what the issue was, but the affliction may have been painful as could be designated by the word “thorn.” But then again, if it were an issue with his eyesight, that could be considered a thorn in the flesh that was not painful. Looking deeper into that topic….
In Acts 9:3 Paul says, “As he [Paul] was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” Because of this light, Paul fell to the ground and was blinded for three days (Acts 9:8-9; 22:11). Also, Paul says something very interesting in Galatians 4:15, “Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.” Could it be that because of the encounter with Christ, Paul had been blinded; and this is why the Galatians wanted to, so to speak, pluck their eyes out for him? It seems like a real possibility.
Either way, Paul had asked three times to be delivered of affliction, but God did not heal him. The reason is obvious, as is stated by Paul himself, that it was to keep him humble (2 Cor. 12:7). It is worth noting that our afflictions which are permitted by God are often for the same reason. Sometimes we’re humbled by our afflictions and return to God and trust him. This, of course, is a good thing.
Now one extremely important thing I do want to point out is that I do not believe Epilepsy is a sin or a punishment as a result of any type of sinning. In reading the passage above, I took something very important away. Extracting Spiritual Vitamins if you will! Trust God. In our hardships, in our persecutions, in our difficulties along this journey with epilepsy never waiver in trusting God. As Paul had said, for when we are weak, then we are strong. When I had stumbled upon this passage just recently, a passage that I had most certainly read multiple times before in the past, a different reaction took hold of me unlike any other time before. A swelling of emotion filled up within me and I took the passage to my husband to share.
He and I sat down together and I began to read the passage to him. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Mid-Way through reading, I felt a baseball growing in my throat and water flooding in my eyes. It was difficult to complete reading the passage without cold teardrops streaming down my face and dripping off of my cheeks as I felt as though I could feel Paul’s words intertwined with my own journey at that very moment. I felt both reflective and empowered all in one. Strengthened and at peace. I finished reading the Bible passage, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and acknowledged that no matter the look of the path of the journey, I’ll blaze it because I know who ultimately has my best interest at heart and everything will be okay.
Epilepsy is my Thorn In The Flesh. So then I will boast all the more gladly about my condition that I live with, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I smile though I live with this very condition, though at times it may be hard, though there may come times I find myself persecuted, though there may come difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Praise The Lord.