Let’s take a look at the apostle Paul today, when he addresses three prayers to God concerning his suffering. (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Do you remember when he wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8)?
As I imagine it, the first time he prayed, he was probably determined to immediately get rid of this obstacle that had come upon him:
“God, I need You...this situation is shaking me to the core. Please...lift this pain. Amen.”
Yet, the thorn remained. However, Paul, strong in character, doesn’t get downhearted. He perseveres in prayer with doubled fervor:
“Lord, I come again to ask You to take this thorn from me. I’ve really thought about it, and truly, it’s handicapping me in the ministry. If you remove this from me, I could serve You much better than I am today: I could visit more widows, train more people, write more letters to teach and encourage Your Church! I want this suffering to go away! Amen.”
And still...the thorn persisted.
This time, Paul surely set aside a time to fast and pray, desperate to see his pain lifted:
“Jesus, You said that You took our afflictions by dying on the cross, and as for me, I’m so weary of fighting this thorn. I ask You again, one last time...I beg You to take this pain from me...please, do it! If not, I need a word from You. Amen.”
Today, I invite you to join with Paul for one more prayer, a prayer of relinquishment:
“Yes...when I’m weak, when I feel like I’m at the lowest of lows, when I feel like I can’t bear it anymore, when I think I’m going to lose it, when I’m at the end of my rope, when I just can’t take this frustration any longer, when I’m so weak...it’s at this moment that through You, JESUS, I am strong. I give up my thorn and release my frustration into Your hands. Amen!”
Thanks for existing!