Bible scholars disagree as to what Paul’s ‘thorn’ was. Some think it may have been poor eyesight, others a speech impediment, and others a physical challenge. Why doesn’t the Bible tell us? Well, if his problem was poor eyesight, then we would say, ‘That doesn’t help me because I have 20/20 vision.’ If it was a speech impediment, those with the gift of communication wouldn’t find comfort in his words. If it was a physical challenge, those with good health would think they’re exempt. The reason the Bible doesn’t tell us may be this: no matter what your particular struggle or affliction is, the same God who gave Paul victory over his thorn will give you victory too.
Who’s the person in your life you would describe as ‘a thorn in your side’? What’s the ‘thorny’ situation at work you face day after day? You can have a ‘thorny’ relationship with someone that requires extra grace, love, and prayer. That’s why Peter writes, ‘Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord.’ (2 Peter 3:18 KJV) Each of our thorns is different because God customises them to our need. Why? So that we will ‘grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord.’ God is more interested in our character than He is in our comfort, so when we pray for lighter burdens, He gives us stronger backs.
The songwriter said: ‘He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, He giveth more strength when the labours increase; To added affliction He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.’