Friday, July 29, 2022

Living Well With Your Thorn

Friday, July 29, 2022

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.   Philippians 4: 10-13

Living Well With Your Thorn

The Apostle Paul provides us many opportunities to learn some great lessons from his life.  He was a persecutor of Christians until He had a blinding salvation experience and became a life on fire for God.  One of the most memorable passages about Paul is the passage where he speaks of having a thorn in the flesh – something we can all relate to.  We all have things in our lives that can defeat us if we let them, and trials are a pretty regular part of life.  That is why it is important for us to learn how to live a life that glorifies God regardless of our situations in life.  

Paul learned the secret of living life well with his thorn. A thorn is a little different than a trial that comes and eventually is over. A thorn is an ongoing trial that sometimes never ends. These are the trials that really wear us down – the longtime, over and over, continuous stress in our lives that can take it all out of us. If we don’t pay attention and make sure we get filled, we will find ourselves completely empty. 

What Paul learned was that even in the hardest of times, if we can focus on what there is to be thankful for, and take the focus off our pain, it helps. Also, a sacrifice of praise is sweet to our Heavenly Father’s ears. 

Paul found reason to be thankful while in dire need. He learned to be content in his situation because he was grateful for God's strength that would enable him to do whatever God wanted him to do in every circumstance. God's wisdom strengthened and encouraged Paul.  

Spiritual insight allows us to see the good and bad in our lives with the realization that God blends them together for our good. As James wrote to troubled Christians, he reminded them that every good and perfect gift came from God (James 1:2-4, 17). However, I believe that their good and perfect gifts from God were spiritual rather than physical. Trials have a way of stripping away the superficial and making it easy to see the really important things in life. We must realize how all things—good and bad--fit together to make life what God intends for it to be. It is then that we discover gratitude that leads to contentment.

As you read this maybe you are in a dry spell.  Maybe you are sick, or have marriage/family problems, or financial issues – or all of the above.  Try to focus on what God has done for you, because honestly, sometimes in the midst of hardship we forget all He has done.  Pray about your situation and thank Him for the work He is doing even if you don’t feel like He is doing anything.  Trust Him, give it to Him and live expectantly, waiting on Him to blend everything together for His perfect goodness.  Pray for your eyes to be opened so you can see there is much to be thankful for.   


Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4


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