In 2 Corinthians 12:7, the Apostle Paul said he was given a thorn in the flesh in order to keep him from exalting himself. In other words, Paul experienced some sort of pain that kept him from being conceited and to trust completely in the grace and strength from God.
We don’t know what this was, but we do know that it kept Paul humble.
Humankind, left alone, has the tendency to get proud and become self-dependent. As Christians, even though we are forgiven, we have to learn to yield and be submissive to the father’s will. Almost, if not always, this involves us experiencing some kind of pain or brokenness. Even the military understands this concept when it requires young soldiers to first go to boot camp at the beginning of their military careers.
In the last several months, the church where I pastor has experienced significant growth. In the midst of this growth, I have experienced a lot of battles internally that have brought about a lot of pain and humility. One example is found in my usual Saturday evening routine, in which I practice and preach to the empty chairs in preparation for the real deal on Sunday.
It’s here that I pray for victories in the lives of those that will be present the following day. Most evenings end up being a struggle to get my thoughts together, and it is hard to focus as I attempt to speak. I get to the place where I say something like this: “Lord, here I am again frustrated and not being able to do this which you have called me to do. I have prepared during the week and have attempted to seek your will in what I am to say, and unless you help me, anoint me and empower me, I can’t do this.”
The Lord whispers back with this thought: “Now that you have surrendered and humbled yourself, I can again use you.”
I then get off my knees, and the words begin to flow.
The next time you experience pain or brokenness as a believer, understand that God is molding you into something he can work with and through. He has a plan for you that will end up giving him the honor, praise and glory and will end up for your good.