I have a thorn in my flesh, like Paul. I want God to heal it, to remove it, to make it go away. I pray for this everyday, multiple times a day. Sometimes I beg. It is the temptation I can't resist. The thing that keeps coming back. The thing I work on day after day, sometimes moment by moment and can't shake. It torments me. Torments. Sometimes I think it separates me from God. It is this one thing that I think keeps me from being everything God wants me to be. Fully aware, fully in His will.
Despite this thorn, God uses me. He prompts me with Scripture to give to others to encourage them and build into them. He has filled me with love that flows out of me and brings people to Him. He entrusts me with so much. It's crazy, really. He gives me people to lead and says to me as clearly as if you said it out loud right now: "Lead them." I obey Him and I disobey Him. I pay attention and ignore. I accept and refuse. I cannot believe or comprehend He uses me.
So, I think God will heal my thorn one day and then on that day, I will be fully formed, fully in Christ. One day. It's coming, I can feel it. I will overcome it. That will be a great day. I will be able to do great things for God. That day will be a day to throw a party, a great celebration, with music and champagne and family and friends. They will say: Remember how much you struggled? Look how far you've come! Look what you've accomplished! You've made it! Success!
And then I think about grace.
Paul said: "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corin. 12:7-10)
Max Lucado describes it this way: "You wonder why God doesn't remove temptation from your life? If he did, you might lean on your strength instead of his grace. A few stumbles might be what you need to convince you: His grace is sufficient for your sin." (In the Grip of Grace at 137)
Maybe the celebration with the champagne and music and family and friends should be right now, today. God's grace is sufficient for me. It is as much as is needed. It is enough. Thus, I will delight in the torment and the struggle because when I am weak, Christ's power will rest upon me and I will be strong.