“Becky, I’ve heard some Christians say that they are not healed, because “God has them right where he wants them.” One lady said that the Lord told her that she is to study and write about the end-times, and that she is to remain in pain with various problems, This belief that He has her right where He wants her goes against all that you seem to say in your teachings, and against Scripture. The Apostle Paul may be the only example that I can think of, but his problem was not necessarily a physical or mental issue. Can you please clarify this for me and other readers? Gail.”

Gail, this is a good topic of discussion, and one that is often misunderstood in the Christian Church. Let’s read this portion of Scripture found in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.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.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This phrase, “thorn in the flesh” is never used to represent sickness and disease. It always tells us exactly what it is in the context of the verse. In the passage above, Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a messenger of satan, a demonic spirit sent to buffet him. Buffet means “one attack after another”.

References to a thorn in the flesh, a thorn in the side, or thorns or irritants in the eye occur in several other places in Scripture as well. In each place, the passage makes clear who or what is being referred to. In Numbers 33:55, it is “the inhabitants of Canaan”; in Joshua 23:13, “the nations of their enemies”; and in 2 Samuel 23:6, “the sons of rebellion”. All of these are physical enemies, or in the case of 2 Corinthians 12, spiritual enemies. What they are not referring to is illness in any form.

Many people believe that God has given them a thorn in the flesh–by which they mean a sickness or disease intended to teach them patience and endurance and to draw them closer to God by the means of suffering. This is a works mentality, and hasn’t anything to do with the grace, the redemptive workings of Christ to redeem us from the curse. It is also a lie from satan. And this type of false belief causes these people and their loved ones to turn away from God. They blame Him for their suffering, and see Him as being cruel and unloving. And they do not want to follow after Him and His ways. And yet, we can see by viewing the above Scriptures, that the phrase a thorn in the flesh never was used in Scripture to refer to sickness and disease.

Becky Dvorak is a prophetic healing evangelist and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe, Greater Than Magic and, soon to be released, The Healing Creed. Visit her at authorbeckydvorak.com.

2 thoughts on “What’s Paul’s Thorn In the Flesh?

  1. Very well stated that the thorn was not from the true God. It is a figure of speech hypocatastasis, indicating resemblance by implication; one noun named while the other implied. Numbers 33:55 is the first usage and tells us exactly what the thorn in the flesh was…people, unbelievers sent to obstruct, hinder Paul’s ministry. Joshua 23:13 and Judges 2:1-3 confirm this. The thorn certainly was not an illness that the Father laid on Paul. What an insult to accuse our loving God Almighty. The Scripture will interpret itself right in the verse, in the context, or where a word has been used before, as in the case with how to define Paul’s thorn in the flesh. God bless you mightily in Christ.

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