And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” II Corinthians 12:7

Consider the stereotypical grandparents. They shower their grandchildren with gifts, sweets and special treats. Then, they give the kids back to their parents when they get fussy and tired! God doesn’t deal with His children in such ways. True, He delights to lavish blessings and gifts upon His dear children. But, He is also the all-wise God. He knows how much is too much and He knows that His children need adversity as well. 

The Apostle Paul, who wrote these words, was abundantly blessed by God. He was very gifted and used in unique ways in God’s service. But, since he still had a sinful nature, even these spiritual gifts and blessings could potentially lead Paul to sinful pride, thinking of himself more highly than he ought to think. In order to keep him humble, aware of his weakness and continual need for Christ, God allowed great adversity in his life. We don’t know what the “thorn in the flesh” was. A sickness, a temptation, a problem with his eyesight? Whatever it was, it wasn’t pleasant. It was “a messenger of Satan”, something the enemy tried to exploit against Paul. 

A loving God allowed this, that He might keep this gifted man in humble dependence. Believer, God loves you! He loves you perfectly. Because we know this, sometimes we think He should make things always comfortable and easy for us. These times are wonderful and we should enjoy them to the fullest. But, there are other times as well. It could be big adversity or small. But, rest assured that because God loves us, He is determined that we be holy. He is willing to lead us through difficulties that our character be shaped and purified. He has not designed our lives to always be easy, but He is always looking out for us. His love is deep and wise…and for our true good!

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