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  • Writer's pictureDianne Miley

How Thorns Make Us Stronger



“I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.

Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’”

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NLT


Scripture concludes at the end of verse 10, written by Apostle Paul:


“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10


When we commit our weaknesses to God and trust in him, that’s when we receive his strength.


We may think that having our act together makes us mature and less dependent on God. Believing an illusion of strength and independence leaves us weaker as we rely on our limited strength rather than God’s unlimited strength.


Why do you think God refused to remove the thorn in Paul’s flesh?

The thorn forced Paul to rely on God’s strength instead of his own strength.


Apostle Paul carried the thorn in his flesh and experienced catastrophic trials including shipwrecks and prison and chains that forced him to depend on God’s strength. He never would have gained God’s strength if he’d been proud and relied on his own strength.


Only in the realization that we are totally dependent on God do we find spiritual maturity. Until we reach that place, God may place debilitating situations into our lives to force us, like he forced Paul, into total dependence on his strength.


We may long for the day when this Christian life becomes easier, when temptations are behind us, and we can move forward without the struggles of sin. That too is an illusion. If Jesus himself was tempted, do we honestly think Satan will stop tempting us?


A person God can use trusts in His strength alone.


In the flesh, we are desperately weak. We glory only in God’s presence. Let’s commit our weaknesses to God and trust in His strength.


Whatever your calling in this season or in life, whether it’s parenting, or setting a Christian example in the workplace, or going on mission trips, or running a ministry—God hasn’t called you to do it alone.


You can’t do it alone.


When God called me to help house pregnant women in need, I knew nothing about how to do that. In addition, one of my mentors at the pregnancy center told me that others had tried to start maternity homes in Charleston, and they’d all failed due to insurance costs.


The Holy Spirit assured me that if God wanted me to do this, He would provide the cost of insurance. And He has!

I’m amazed that God used me. I’m nobody special. I have all kinds of thorns.


But God’s power works best in weakness.


God provided the 501c3, donors, volunteers, and clients. While I remain board president of Sanctuary of Unborn Life (SOUL), three years ago I resigned from daily operations. Then God provided a new executive director with the heart and vision that I have, along with the education, experience, and youth that I don’t have.


Under new direction, God continues building HIS kingdom.


It was never my kingdom. God made that clear from the beginning.


Your calling, your career, and even your kids aren’t yours either. They belong to God and He is holding them in the palm of his hand.


I leave you with these words of scripture from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church.


“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, ‘If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.’”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NLT

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