This is a topic that I have wanted to address for a while. Paul’s thorn has actually become a bit of a thorn in my side, because people keep using it out of context to counteract what I say. When I make statements like ‘God wants people healed’, ‘we have authority to rebuke illness and demons’ and ‘God wants what is good for us’, people say that Paul’s ‘thorn’ proves otherwise. It doesn’t. It is often written that no one actually knows what Paul’s thorn was, but an educated guess would not lead us to believe that it was an illness. I have no idea where people get that idea from, I assume that it is just an idea that has come about, in order to explain away times when healing doesn’t happen as we would like it to. This is nonsense. Let’s have a look at what the scriptures say.
2 Corinthians 12:7 says “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” Firstly, it doesn’t say that God sent the thorn, it says that the thorn was a messenger from satan, not God. I believe that the reason why he says that the thorn is there to keep him humble, is because that is what he believed that God would use it for, I think that he was looking at the positive side of things. He was saying, “Well, I have this thorn, Lord let it keep me humble”. Secondly, how does ‘messenger from satan’ become illness? This is what astounds me. A messenger of satan is a demon. It was a demon that was harassing Paul, not an illness. What was the demon doing, you ask? Well, Paul was stoned, imprisoned, beaten, ridiculed and constantly harassed by angry people who opposed what he said. I believe that was the work of the demon. I believe that is what Paul was talking about. We all face persecution to a lesser or greater degree as believers, if you don’t, you’re not doing it properly. So, if that is the case, let’s have a look at Paul’s plea to God to remove it and what God said to him.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 says, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This is where Paul explains what he means, once again making it clear, and not mentioning sickness. He says that God said His grace and power were the key. It also says that the power of Christ can work through him (Paul) as his weakness shows. Christ’s power, our actions. Paul is proving my point here! Paul is saying here that he wanted God to remove the demon, but God’s power in Paul was enough to overcome what the demon was doing. That is excellent news for us! When we come up against demons, strongholds, problems, mountains and issues that are trying to stop us from doing God’s will, we have God’s strength in us to deal with it. God doesn’t want us to come and ask Him to overcome these things, He is saying that we already have His grace and strength, and that is sufficient to overcome what the devil can throw at us. Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is!
I hope that this clears things up. I know that most people say that we don’t actually know what Paul was talking about, and maybe I have missed something, but this seems to be the clearest option for me. I honestly can’t see how people can claim that the thorn was an illness. God does not want us ill, and He definitely does not send us illness.
You have God’s power in you to overcome your ‘thorn’.