Embracing the Thorn

In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes what he calls a “thorn in the flesh”. I would say most of us have this “thorn”. Some scholars believe it was Paul’s eyesight. I seem to think it was difficult people in ministry. I believe Paul did not say what it was so any of us could relate to the principles behind this thorn.

My thorn is anxiety and depression. They have recently been more of a challenge. Over the weekend, I reached out to a pastors group on Facebook. These pastors gave me some wonderful insight that has helped me so much. They reminded me to embrace the thorn.

Embrace the thorn…sounds comfortable, right? I’m imaging a counselor saying to me in a soft-spoken tone, “Embrace the thorn. Be one with the thorn.” The point is that I can use it as a tool to help others rather than a curse. So, this weekend, I did just that. I preached for the first time in almost a year and a half. In that message, I shared a little bit of my struggle. It felt good to admit it.

I’m going to close this post with a teaching message I gave on the subject in July 2012. You will see I am sitting down in this message. I was just diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder within two weeks of preaching this message. I was still struggling, but I was going to do my best to deliver God’s message. I did not mention my diagnosis in the message, but I believe the principles can be of help. Whatever thorn is in your flesh, I pray you can come to the point of embracing it.

4 responses to “Embracing the Thorn”

  1. Dalton Theo Smith Avatar
    Dalton Theo Smith

    Thank you for sharing Pastor Matt. Love the accent and message. How did it feel to preach again? As for the thorn, I can relate. Had major anxiety attacks while teaching high school. Had to quit. I wonder if our anxiety is temperament related or mercy gift related.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought to connect the anxiety to our gift of mercy, but I do see it as a common thing among those with the gift. As for preaching, I’m still buzzing over it.


  2. Thank you for sharing your thorn with us. I have several thorns but the one I want to mention is the thorn of breast cancer that I embraced this past summer. I allowed God to use my thorn to help and encourage others who are also experiencing health challenges. We are engaging in spiritual warfare when we allow the Lord to use what the enemy meant for evil for good and for His glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no doubt you can help countless others through this thorn. You are definitely right about the spiritual warfare we face. So glad to know we are more than conquerors!

      Liked by 1 person

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