Paul had a “thorn”. Not sure what it was. Frankly, the specific knife that was repetitively cutting him was not the point of him sharing. He says in 2 Corinthians 7-10, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 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.”
When my son was three years old and his sister was two, they were playing on a kiddy pool in our back yard. I recall the day very clearly. It was about 85 degrees out, completely clear sky, the sun had that penetrating heat that can tend to blanket you in you remain still too long. My wife was examining her flowers, I was putting together some outdoor chairs. The day was peaceful and quiet. Then, out of nowhere, a high pitched, curdling scream followed by pulsating crying invaded my ears. I looked up and literally watched the inch and a half cut on her head swell before my eyes. It was nasty. Blood and swelling on her forehead, tears of shock running down her cheeks and a scream from the far corner of the yard, “Call 911!”. Now, we didn’t have to call 911, but we did need to scoop her up, bring her inside and clean and bandage the wound. It was probably a week before she stopped feeling the pain. A week of “Daddy, my head hurts”, “Mommy does it look any better?” She was aware of her wound almost moment by moment for that week. She looked to us for comfort, tenderness, dressing changes and simple care.
Paul’s thorn existed to keep him focused on his need. To limit the amount of time he felt capable and satisfied with himself alone. To continually remind him of his need for Jesus, our savior. I don’t think my daughter recalls the event all. There is a light scar that remains on her forehead, but the only time she is “awake” to it may be a passing glance in the mirror from time to time. Besides that random reminder, it has no affect on her on a daily, moment by moment basis. It’s simply a thought she can recall if it’s triggered.
I don’t ever want my bleeding to stop. I don’t want healed wounds. I want them raw, sensitive. If God heals a wound in me I desperately pray there is another that surfaces immediately, so there is no suspension of the painful awareness of my need for him. The discomfort of the the bleeding is far outweighed by the continual communion with Christ that it reveals.