Our greatest spiritual growth comes in the midst of our greatest battles, trials and attacks. Apostle Paul shows us that even the thorns in our flesh have a Divine purpose for us. Yes, God allows the enemy to attack us with a special purpose. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul stated the purpose as to why God allowed a messenger of Satan to attack him, he said,
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” (NKJV)
The assault that God allowed was painful but it served a great purpose by keeping Paul’s feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds. This kept him humble, and drove him to trust God. That’s why it is necessary for us to confidently receive the words of Paul in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NKJV).
In the midst of dealing with his dilemma, Paul cried out to the Lord three times to remove the thorn in his flesh; the Lord refused to remove that which was agonizing to Paul and gave him some encouraging words and revealed his purpose by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (v. 9a) In the second half of verse 9, Paul rejoiced and saw the purpose, he said, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” It was for Paul’s good and for God’s glory. The same can be said for us.
It is only when we come to an understanding that God has a purpose for our spiritual well-being that we are able to be confident of His presence in our lives in the midst of our hardships. We will learn how to keep pressing on in spite of our pains and setbacks. That can only be attained by knowing the God of the Scriptures.
Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. shares in his book “Doctrine That Dances”:
During the evaluation of student sermons at Beeson Divinity School, I regularly ask, “Where is the eschaton in this text?” I wants the student to see that the Bible was written to be understood backward: that God had the end in mind even before the beginning, Revelation 22 even before Genesis 1. This enables believers to see the Scriptures from God’s point of view and to understand that God never reacts to anything within the creative realm; He always pre-acts. That is, God always acts before there is anything to act upon.
It is necessary to understand this very thing about God, that He is already in control of the situations of our lives before they even happen. God dwells in eternity. He is not bound by time; He controls time. Therefore, He is never surprised by anything that happens in time. This helps me to hold on when the winds begin to blow and the earth begins to shake. When I come to my Red Sea, I learned to say from Dr. Richard L. Daniels, “God has already worked it out, we are just working through it.” It is then that we are spiritually able to keep moving forward regardless.
Your servant in Christ,