Spirit-Led Woman

Want to receive SpiritLed Woman by email? Sign up here
woman climbing mountain
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.


I read a Facebook update recently in which a reasonably healthy friend experienced health issues out of nowhere that are likely going to be something he has to deal with for the rest of his life. My first reaction was concern and hope for healing
 
My second reaction (not spoken publicly) was a realistic, “Welcome to the world of the chronically ill.” And I didn’t mean it with sarcasm. I meant it seriously: "Welcome, dear friend, to the world of the thorn in the flesh that God does not remove. As you adjust to its pain and inconveniences, know that it will also bring unusual blessing to you as it distracts you against much that does not matter in this life and makes those things that do matter seem much more precious." 
 
As Paul said, "So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:7-10, ESV).
 
Paul doesn’t say exactly what his thorn in the flesh was. Speculation is that it had to do with poor eyesight that caused him to have to dictate his letters to an assistant. He does call it a messenger of Satan to harass him. There’s an interesting tension here between his trust in God’s sovereign control over this thorn and his belief that it comes from Satan. But even if Satan has sent the thorn to harass him, an uninvited guest that impedes his progress and annoys him persistently, Paul is still confident in God’s supernatural ability to thwart Satan’s purposes for this thorn and replace them with His own good purposes.
 
What was God’s good purpose in Paul's thorn? It was a simple purpose with profound results: humility. God’s purpose was to keep Paul, who was entrusted with the incredible privilege of sharing the gospel, from becoming conceited. The purpose was to make him weak. That is so opposite our view of what makes an influential leader. 
 
We want our leaders fit and handsome. But God instead allowed affliction that brought Paul low, for it takes us being in that state to hear some of the most beautiful words from God to His children in all of Scripture: “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Wow! God says, basically, “I will be enough for you to accomplish what I want you to accomplish. Your weakness opens the door for My supernatural strength to become fully realized in you.”
 
So welcome, friend, to the world of the chronic thorn in the flesh. It may be cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease or glaucoma. It may be a long-term financial burden, caring for a disabled loved one or any number of lingering struggles.
 
The main characteristic of it is that it isn’t going away—and it seems like something that is going to keep you from doing the things for the Lord you thought you would do. But really, it does the exact opposite. As Satan harasses you with it, God opens your eyes to your utter dependence on Him in a way you didn’t fully grasp before. And then, in His strength when you have absolutely none of your own, He accomplishes things that you never thought possible.
 
Thorns hurt. They are not pleasant. They don’t get easier. They remain an agent in our lives that makes us weak. But I love God’s supernatural ability to transform the worst that Satan throws our way into the very things that accomplish His gospel purposes through us. 
 
"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
 
Adapted from Wendy Alsup's blog, theologyforwomen.org. Wendy has authored three books, including By His Wounds You Are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman's Identity. She is also a wife, mom and college math teacher who loves ministering to women. 

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Chuck Pierce is calling the month ahead "critical."

    Chuck Pierce Prophesies 'Short, 10-Year Window' in the Nations

    Russia is a big part of what he sees.

  • Warring angels

    Prophetic Word: 'I Saw Angels at Almost the Speed of Light'

    Here is why you must pray them through for yourself and for your nation.

  • This revivalist had a vision of hell.

    Revivalist: I Went to Hell in a Dream

    After God took him on a prophetic journey, John Burton left with an important message for the ...

  • Get the answer to your challenging circumstance in this insight from James 1:5.

    Early Warning Signs You're About to Make a Terrible Decision

    Is Holy Spirit sounding off these alarms in your life?

  • A bit of flirting may seem innocent, but it can lead to destructive behavior.

    3 Do's and Don'ts When Communicating With Women Other Than Your Wife

    Do you and your wife have any other rules for communicating with the opposite sex?

  • Cindy Jacobs is encouraging intercessors across the country to pray to keep the nation stabilized through December 19th.

    Cindy Jacobs Issues Critical Post-Election Prayer Alert

    Will you keep watching and praying?

  • Fidel Castro

    Castro Couldn't Kill Christianity in Cuba

    The sober truth is the world is a safer place now that Cuba's dictator is dead.

  • Don't let pornography impede God's plan for your life.

    How Watching Pornography Ruins the Destiny God Has for You

    If the devil can seduce you, he can reduce you.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit