Updated: Apr 6, 2021
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul says he was given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from exalting himself. Three times he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” The Lord had blessed Paul with immense knowledge concerning spiritual life and the truth of God. Even today, we are still learning from his inspired writings. This unpleasant thorn helped him walk with God, and through Paul’s faithful suffering, we have benefited.
When you pray for God to remove something unpleasant from your life, He may allow it to remain because it helps you live for Him. The Lord allowed Paul to suffer the thorn in his flesh so that he would not become prideful. His struggle helped him become more effective in God’s hands. Your battle will help your faith if you serve God during it, also.
Paul could have become angry and turned against God for allowing him this pain, losing his soul in the process. Instead, he chose to continue faithfully serving God, trusting that He knows what is eternally best. If suffering for a moment helps bring us to eternal glory, then that suffering is worth the reward (cf. Romans 8:18). If you suffer, do so faithfully so that you can look forward to your eternal reward from your Father in Heaven. If you are not suffering, comfort those who are. Encourage their continued faithfulness by walking with God together (cf. Romans 12:15).