I have two cats that I call my camo-kitties. Their colors help them blend into our country setting. Gives them a survival advantage. Summer means that every day my cats bring in hundreds of little weed stickers clinging to their fur. Many get into the carpet and blend in. If I don’t catch the stickers with the vacuum cleaner, guaranteed my bare feet will find their sharp, painful thorns.
Not fun. But these are small. I can easily remove them.
There are thorns not so easily dealt with. The Greek word used for the thorns Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 12 is skolops, meaning “something pointed and sharp that causes severe pain and is a constant irritation.”
Really not fun.
Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” seemed to cause unrelenting pain and distress. Maybe it was a frustrating limitation or an illness, maybe what was viewed as a physical defect. We don’t know, but we get the sense it was something that was a difficult and constant companion.
As a teen I had plenty of difficult and constant companions I wanted to shake. My quietness (no longer a problem!). My parents' divorce and the pain and struggles that went with it. My move to another state leaving good friends far behind. My mixed-up relationship with my father. My height and wishing I were taller. My easy tears. My . . . I could keep adding to the list.
In the Bible we aren’t given many details beyond the words, “thorn in the flesh.” Ever wonder why God left the details out? I’d love to hear your take on that.
I kinda think it might be because he thought of each of us. Our thorns would be different from Paul’s. The mystery of his makes the possibilities limitless of how God might work in each of our lives through our own unique painful and frustrating thorn.
I see his love in that.