It may be a fault: a defect, or imperfection—one that feels embarrassing and humbling. You may have prayed about it a thousand times. You may have asked people to lay their hands on you and to pray that this imperfection would disappear. I myself have done this.
It may be a friend. Sometimes a dear friend can be a real thorn in the flesh. Perhaps he is difficult. You want to be with him, but afterward you feel frustrated or all the worse for being in his company. It may be a love-hate relationship. You feel you can’t be without this person, but the relationship is always edgy, prickly. You feel that even discussing it would be spontaneous combustion!
It may be an enemy. This person seems to live to make you look bad! But it may be that your enemy—who keeps you on your toes (not to mention your knees)—is raised up by God to keep you sharp and careful.
Could your thorn in the flesh be that you have known failure? It may have been financial failure, a failed marriage, or a job loss. Or, when facing temptation, you failed, and the whole scenario haunts you daily.
Perhaps someone has lied about you. You cannot defend yourself. People believe the lie. You long with all your being to be vindicated. But God withholds vindication. This could be your thorn in the flesh.
Don’t despise your thorn, whatever it is. Don’t resent it. It exists by God’s sovereign pleasure. It is for your good. It is the best thing that ever happened to you next to your conversion and anointing. It is only a matter of time before you will appreciate it.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. —Psalm 103:13–14
I agree and believe we all have thorns. God makes them very special and especially annoying! : ) I also agree that God has very distinct purposes for these thorns.
Personally, I know from experience that as open-minded and willing I may be to listen and accept critisism, there are those few things that I may not be so readily to let go of or accept that "helpful critisism". Bu it may only be when I grow weary of the constant aching and poking that I might humble myself to bow down and accept the will of God on the matter.
If God made every trial pleasant, would we work so hard at getting through it? If the sin really didn't bother us, would we have that ferverent prayer to be cleaned?
So there are times when our Wonderful Savior is ever so merciful and removes sin from us with a kiss on the knee and makes it all better. And that's truly kind, but its for our character and the character of Jesus that we learn from the sin when we had to endure the consequence of the thornful sin.