Lent Devotional: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
by Jonathan Haefs
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (click here)
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Paul’s thorn… was it from God or from Satan?
He explicitly calls it a messenger from Satan… so I guess that means it is from Satan, right? Then again, he says that it was given to him to keep him from becoming conceited. Well that is God’s good purpose… so I guess that means it is from God, right?
Is the thorn from God or Satan? Paul answers, “YES!”
Through this thorn, whatever it is, Satan is aiming to destroy Paul’s faith! But the sovereign God over all is working through this thorn to strengthen Paul’s faith! It makes Paul rely all the more on the power that God provides, and his gracious power proves sufficient! Thus, Paul’s faith is strengthened!
It turns out that this thorn is for Paul’s good! It keeps him humble and depending on the Lord. Thus, the thorn is also for God’s glory, for the sake of Christ, as he works through it to show the world his power through Paul!
This “messenger from Satan” sent to torment Paul, becomes a messenger sent to teach the world of God’s grace! Satan loses! God wins!
This is true of every “thorn” in your life!
All too often we look at our thorns and only talk about how they are messengers from Satan sent to torment us and destroy our faith. And we can talk about them that way! We can call all our thorns evil and of the devil! BUT… if we only talk about or see them that way, then we are missing an even deeper reality, namely, that our sovereign God rules over Satan! He rules over all our thorns! And he uses them as a means of grace in our lives!
When we look at our thorns, we must not only see how they are messengers from Satan, but also full of purpose from God! They keep us humble and reliant not upon ourselves, but upon him and his power! Of course, we can pray for the Lord to take them away, and he may… but he also might say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore, let us boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses and thorns, so that the power of Christ might be shown to the world! For his sake, for his glory and our good, may all “messengers from Satan” sent to torment us, become messengers sent to teach the world of God’s grace!
Satan loses! God wins!