The root word for “thorn” describes a stake for a tent! The word “thorn” comes from a word which refers to “a sharp wooden stake to torture or impale someone.” The word “buffet” means, “to strike with a clenched fist, to mistreat.” For Paul it was  like being beaten with an open fist or being impaled on a stake. Paul wanted to give the “gift” back! He asked three times for it to be removed. God had a glorious purpose in it. “And He said to me…My Grace is Sufficient for you.”  The way it is written grammatically, “HE DID SAY AND HE DOES SAY.”  It is continuous. He would not change His mind on this. ‘He has once and for all said it!’ The word, “SAID,” was also used as an edict of  emperors and magistrates. Paul’s edict is from the King  of Kings!  The King has said, my King has said, is saying and it will be so! He would not have to doubt, wonder, hesitate for the edict of the King has been made known to him!

Imagine if you could have a conversation with Paul about his “thorn,”

“What Did you say?” “I begged with Him to remove it!”- What did He say, “My Grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness!”-

“So, then What did you say?” -”I begged with Him to remove it!”- What did He say, “My Grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness!”-

“What did you say then?” – “I begged with Him to remove it!”- What did He say,”My Grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness!” – “He has  said, He says, His declaration stands” – Final Answer!

“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.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”-{ NLT version}.

A MAN wrote to me who is in a difficult place and said, ‘if we trust God He will deliver us if we have faith.’ We all might like to believe that because none of us want difficulties. “But God…” does not always deliver FROM difficulties. There are times He Imparts Grace and power for the bearing up under the trial and TO REMAIN IN the trial. Some are delivered from the furnace of affliction. Others are imparted sufficient grace and power to continue on in the affliction. “But God…” He has His plan.

* God answers prayer but maybe not with the answer you asked for.

* God wanted to put Himself on display to Paul and through Paul

* God uses adversity for a purpose.

* Paul would know the power of Christ in his weakness.

Paul was “given,” the word speaks of a “gift.” Three times he tried to give it back – v8. But “He has said” and still says and will say…


 The purpose of the ‘Thorn’ was for…

  1. Protection from Spiritual Pride. -v7
  2. Draw him into a deeper dependence and intimacy with the LORD.- v9
  3. Grace made known which produces Spiritual fruit. – v9
  4. Power perfected in weakness- v 9

Pain and Praise are not exclusive when the will of God is submitted to. The Grace of God and the Power of God is unleashed through weakness committed and entrusted to Him- v9-10. The GRACE, empowering of the LORD Jesus shows, “contentment,” is possible for a person who is yielded to the will of God, even in excruciating pain and difficulties. Paul accepted it, GLORIED, BOASTED that his weakness was God’s opportunity for him to know His Strength. His grace.His power.- v10-11. Paul did not boast in the pain. Paul did not boast in the process. Paul boasted in the LORD who met him in the pain and in the process. His focus was on the Person of the LORD JESUS and His Provision to him. It was personal. It was powerful. It was in and through pain he learned this!

THE SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST; “My Grace is Sufficient.” -The word, “sufficient” means “enough, sufficient, with the implication of leading to satisfaction. ” Sufficient (714) (arkeo)  means “TO BE ENOUGH, TO BE SUFFICIENT, TO BE ADEQUATE WITH THE IMPLICATION OF LEADING TO SATISFACTION.” In the passive sense ‘arkeo’ means to “be satisfied “or “CONTENTED with something. The Sufficiency of Christ was “enough,” for Paul, not in some drudgery, bitter and twisted way but being content, satisfied. The way the passage is written is, “Sufficient for you is the Grace of Me.” Jesus Himself was his satisfaction. He found his satisfaction, contentment in Him. Therefore, knowing Him better and that this was His will for him , he submitted to Him and  chose to boast in his weakness for he knew this to be the way of entrance for the power, sufficiency of Christ in and through his life.

Weakness to the lost world is often looked down upon by some. In the spiritual realm the realization of dependence upon Jesus is the gateway for the Grace and Power of Christ to be unleashed! “When I am weak then I am strong.” v10. The imparted gift of the strength of the Lord Jesus to forge ahead despite the many difficulties he encountered. Paul knew and testified, came not from self-sufficiency but from Christ’s Sufficiency! “My Grace…My power…” How intimately acquainted the LORD was with Paul and how great the infinite resources He had at Paul’s disposal!

A young preacher visited and older Christian and asked if he had any advice to give the young man as he started out in ministry. The older man teared up and said, “God is not using many men today they are too big to be used.”


When God Want’s to Make a Man

“When God wants to drill a man, And thrill a man, And skill a man, When God wants to mold a man To play the noblest part; When He yearns with all His heart To create so great and bold a man That all the world shall be amazed, Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects Whom He royally elects! How He hammers him and hurts him, And with mighty blows converts him Into trial shapes of clay which Only God understands; While his tortured heart is crying And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks When his good He undertakes; How He uses whom He chooses, And with every purpose fuses him; By every act induces him To try His splendor out— God knows what He’s about.” – —Author Unknown



It’s an interesting thing when Paul writes about “The Thorn.” It is 14 years that he had had it! Yet he was “content”. He ” gloried” in the provision of the grace of The Lord and His power made perfect in weakness.  What we often view as disqualification, “Weakness,”  Paul teaches it is mandatory for God’s Strength. The “thorn” did not turn Paul away from the Lord but to Him in prayer. The blessing of the “thorn” was to turn him to the Lord and upon hearing the Lord’s answer to his need was Himself, His grace, His power, Paul chose to glory in his weakness. Whatever turns you to the LORD can be a great blessing to you.

 “A Grief, a trial, an incapacity, a limitatation, which we use as a means of deepening our sense of dependance upon Him, is a blessing, and not a sorrow.”- {Alexander Mac Laren.}


God demonstrates STRENGTH through weakness! Many want to be strong but are not weak enough for God’s strength! They are “strong” in their own strength. Strong in their own self-sufficiency, rather than Christ sufficiency. So affliction is greeted with exasperation, anger at God… frustration… But Paul teaches us the way to deeper intimacy with Him when he handed in his RESIGNATION to what he knew was God’s will for him, and with the ACCEPTANCE came forth CELEBRATION, GLORYING, BOASTING IN THE GOD who “gifted” him with “the thorn,” and CONTENTMENT.



Like Paul we too can “Glory- Boast” – Because he knew and understood why the “gift of the thorn” was given to him,”…to keep me from exalting myself.” v7. Paul had fourteen years earlier had been caught up in the heavens and seen and heard Heavenly things- v2-5. “The Thorn” was in part giving to protect Paul from spiritual pride and to cause him to draw closer to Jesus Christ. The “thorn” did not turn him away but tuned him towards the Lord Jesus in prayer! Paul was forced into total dependence upon the Grace and Strength of Jesus Christ. He was forced to wholly, completely lean all on Jesus. And the LORD Jesus would not disappoint.


Your affliction, your “thorn” can be your greatest ally- if it causes you to turn to Him. Know Him better. Know and be completely dependent upon Him. Acceptance of His will for you. His grace. His power- your sufficiency. Others will benefit! Christ will be magnified to you and through you! CONTENTMENT with Christ despite piercing pain! GLORY, BOASTING in HIM and in HIS PROVISION FOR YOU- GRACE THAT STRENGTHENS, POWER FOR YOUR WEAKNESS!

  When His will was submitted to, and embraced;

  The Spiritual Fruit  is …

  • – CONTENTMENT;  THE FRUIT OF CONTENTMENT –  Yet he writes, “…Therefore, I am WELL CONTENT with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”- v 10


  • – CELEBRATING -{BOASTING;}  – THE FRUIT OF BOASTING IN CHRIST, Glorying in the LORD’S PROVISION. “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather BOAST about my weaknesses, SO THAT the Power of Christ may dwell in me.”- v 9


  • – CONFIDENCE; is found in Christ. His Person, His Promise – “My grace…My power…is sufficient for… YOU!” – v9


  • – INSIGHT; Understanding God’s way. We have insight to understand, His right to lead us His way. He is our Maker and loving Lord and He has purpose through our pain. UNDERSTANDING, Spiritual insight to know His Power is unleashed in our weakness’s While others may wonder, “why,” Paul shows us we can know “Who!” It is the Lord and His dealings with us are that we may depend to support upon Him more and more. Just as Jacob leaned upon his staff to support him ,so we lean in on Him for His support of us, spiritually emotionally, physically and in all ways.


  • – BLESSING FOR OTHER; “-We glean insight from the passage that there is not just Paul’s realization of the Lord’s intent for him , and the blessing upon knowing Him more intimately amidst pain, but also as we read we ourselves can find Hope that as he has been to Paul, so he is to us. Gracious. Imparting Himself. Imparting His Grace to empower us.Imparting reason in pain to have Confidence in Him. Imparting reasons to Celebrate Him. Imparting reasons to be Contentment. Imparting INSIGHT as we read His Word which He has gifted to us that we may Know Him and His ways, amidst the perplexities of life and the traumas at times. God has greatly used Paul in the lives of others throughout the generation through his pain. His pain was not wasted ad as a result the LORD Jesus not only blessed Him, but has blessed others. Your pain can be a Blessing if it ends up as Paul, with Christ as your all and all, and knowing Him more intimately and His sufficient grace empowering you to depend upon Him and draw from Him power. God’s dealings with Paul drew him into blessing and through Paul blessed countless generations. Others can spirituall beneif and be blessed because of your own pain {See 2 Cor 1:4} So your pain can be a blessing for others. Your pain can be used to draw you closer to Him and His power unleashed through you to be a blessing to others!


Pain did not define him… the PERSON and PROVISION and POWER of Jesus Christ to him and through him brought forth PRAISE to Jesus Christ from the man…in pain- Now that is amazing Grace!