Many of us suffer with chronic conditions that make life harder at times, such as headaches, arthritis, missing limbs, a pain that just won’t go away. Gradually we adjust and learn to just live with it. The Apostle Paul suffered also with such an affliction. He referred to it as a thorn in his flesh, but never allowed it to hinder his ministry for Jesus.
I really wanted to write something that didn’t involve Covid-19 this time, but this virus has become a thorn for many of us as we attempt to deal with the many changes and inconveniences it has caused. Many are irritated because they are asked to wear a mask and others aggravated because so many refuse to. Schools are trying to decide whether or not to open and to what extent. Christians are told they can’t sing in church and still no church meetings are even allowed in some areas. We are told just to live with it until this virus is under control…but how long might that be?
Life as it is right now may make us feel helpless and frustrated at times considering the division and unrest our country knew even before the pandemic, but like Paul we should look at it only as a challenge… an opportunity for Christ to shine. In 2 Corinthians 12: 6-7, Paul mentions his thorn in the flesh and calls it the messenger of Satan, given to him to so he would not boast or think of himself as being better than anybody else. When he prayed for the affliction to go away God told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
We might just have to live with the way things are for a while, but it too will pass. With God all things are possible. We can’t change the world or one person in it other than ourselves, but God can and we must not be silent. The church doors might be closed, but its heart, its people, can still reach out and share the hope we have found in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 6 For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed.