We tend to built the Apostle Paul up as a sort of systematic theologian when in reality I wonder if he was not more of a mystic. He tells the story of how Jesus appeared to him in a vision on the road to Damascus and struck him down with blindness and called him to be an apostle. Then there is today's confession by Paul from his letter to the Corinthians in which he says about himself:
"I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows - was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat." (2 Corinthians 1:2)
Apparently, in order to keep him humble, God gave him a "thorn in the flesh." This thorn in the flesh has been envisioned in many different ways but Paul is not specific as to what it was. However, he does say it was "a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being elated." Again, Paul's pre-scientific world view becomes a "thorn in the flesh" to post modern readers. We do not like talk about messengers from Satan because Satan does not fit into our scientific view of the world. In any case, here is how Paul puts it.
"Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong." (vs 7b-10)
Do you have a thorn in the flesh from God? Do you need one?
Why or why not?