Paul wished for the same – thorn removal, that is. In 2 Corinthians 12:5b-10, Paul says, “I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Some theorize Paul’s thorn may have been impaired vision. No one really knows. In my case, the way I see things definitely correlates with the degree of pain I feel, particularly in the night seasons. Suffering intensifies when my view of God distorts. Admittedly, I’ve struggled to keep Him in focus lately!! He’s been trying to teach me to refrain from speaking the truth unless directed to do so. The more I’ve desired to speak into situations begging a verbal spotlight, the more He has insisted I remain silent, and still!! As circumstances have grown more chaotic and demanding, all I’ve been told to do is hunker down and be quiet. This has felt nothing like lying in green pastures beside refreshing still waters. Rather, like abandonment under fire in a battlefield trench. I’ve questioned and at times resisted His command to “rest,” in effect asking, “Are you kidding? How can I ignore this situation, not advocate, not act? This hurts!!”
I am keeping my grandson this week and have observed he often draws attention to his minor cuts and sprains and tells elaborate stories behind barely visible scars. Beneath these superficial flesh wounds lies a heart that yearns for notice and aches for validation. He requests salve, ace bandages, Band-Aids, and Tylenol frequently. His headaches are migraines, his blisters festering sores threatening to become gangrenous. What he really needs is an awareness of God’s constant loving gaze, of His outstretched arm, of His power to save. Like Hagar, He needs to see the God Who Sees (him). So do I!! I need a fresh view of God who never abandons, forsakes, forgets, ignores, overlooks. I need to see God who notices everything down to the most miniscule details and acts accordingly, freeing me to rest and follow His lead.
Silent & Still In His Shadow,