Paul and Pain

The pain that I was experiencing yesterday was a result of my visiting the Appearence deity’s temple. Usually, when I’m sore from working out, I’m a pretty happy camper. The soreness reminds me that I’ve worked sufficiently hard to grow as a result of that exercise.

On this particular occasion, however, I was not happy about the soreness. It was a thorn in my side.

There seems to be two ways of experiencing pain. When I recognize that the pain is an integral part of growing, the pain is somewhat pleasurable. It is indicative of the bettering of my self. When I fail to recognize this either because of the intensity of the pain or because I’m failing to care about my betterment, the pain sucks.

I am reminded of Paul and his thorn. (Interestingly, the bible speaks of “thorns in people’s sides” earlier in the OT.)

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me…9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

The thorns of the OT all seem to be the result of people acting stupidly. Paul, however, is “given a thorn in his side.” We see the aforementioned subjective transformation of the experience of pain in Paul’s account. He pleads with God that the thorn be removed. After he realizes the consequences of the pain, however, he puts the topic to rest. Indeed, he does so in a seemingly joyful way.

I have not experienced much pain in my life, but when I do, I want to experience this transformation in my experience of pain. Help me, God, to always be mindful of the growth that is happening inside of me as a result of the pain and help me to understanding the meaning of these words, “my power is made perfect in weakness.”

 

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