Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
It was only a few years ago that it was allowed to suddenly descend — uninvited. Anxiety. It has changed pretty much every part of who I am. I don’t mean the kind of anxiety that can be prayed or reasoned away with a few moments in the Word. Of course, time in the Word of God and prayer is where I go in the midst of this daily reality, but this is a different kind of anxiety.
God has used it to slow me down and limit me in ways He may not choose to limit others. It is the way that He has chosen to work in my life. It’s the thorn He has allowed in.
10 Reasons Why I Am Grateful for “the Thorn” of Anxiety:
- God has shown his strength when he has enabled me to persevere through the days when everything within me wants to sit on the couch and withdraw.
- God has strengthened me on those days when I wake up with a knot in my stomach and reminds me to pray for those people in my life who are suffering. (I call that knot my “prayer knot”!)
- God has enabled me to give thanks for anxiety because I know that He has allowed this thorn, that it is a part of His plan even though it is not what I ever imagined my life would look like when I reached this season.
- God has worked through anxiety to help me be able to choose not to “fear man” because, even though some don’t understand it, and some may think I should be doing more than I do – that I should show up in different ways – I have had to learn that it is enough that God knows and God sees.
- God is teaching me to live my life focused on the Gospel, and is teaching me to finding my hope and security in Him alone. “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:1
- God is teaching to me to remember that it is up to Him to accomplish every good thing He has planned for me, it’s not up to me, and He will do that in spite of my weakness. “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting…” Psalm 138:8
- God is teaching me to relinquish my control and to choose to walk in faith, One day at a time. Choosing to be faithful to do what he has put in front of me. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27’
- God is helping me to find peace, to trust Him, to push through anxiety, and to allow Him to guide me in the right direction as I seek Him for wisdom, trusting the promise found in Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
- God regularly reminds me that He desires that He would be exalted in and through me, and He will do a new thing if I choose to seek Him. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
- God reminds me that he has been faithful to me in the past and that I can trust him to be faithful in the future. I can rest in his promises.
When we are young we often look ahead and conclude that we will reach a level of maturity and strength when we enter later seasons of life. The reality is, what is actually experienced is the opposite. Life, time, and God (if we allow him to) have a tendency to reveal how very weak we are and how very much we need His strength each day. We learn that He allows thorns to keep us from becoming conceited, that His grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in weakness.
“Our merciful Savior never gives a thorn without this added grace – He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.”
Gina Smith and her husband have served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents for over 20 years. They have lived on the campus where they homeschooled and raised both of their children. In her spare time she loves to write and recently authored her first book, “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God's Grace." She also writes at her personal blog: ginalsmith.com.
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