Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
Thoughts for Today:In our previous passage, Paul spoke of a "thorn in the flesh". What was the thorn that caused him so much discomfort? We don't know for certain; however Bible commentators have speculated that it might have been some sort of eye disease, malaria, or possibly the long term implications of a previous injury. Paul traveled extensively, so he may have contracted a foreign illness, not to mention he was beaten several times, stoned, robbed, and shipwrecked. His "thorn" could have come from any one (or a combination) of these incidents.
There is one thing we do know for certain -- the thorn he speaks of was no small matter. According to Strong's Lexicon, the Greek word SKOLOPS (translated as "thorn"), is the same term used for tent stakes -- those eighteen-inch long spikes of wood used to anchor tents against the strong desert winds. So the "thorn" Paul speaks of was more like walking around with a large butcher knife sticking out of his side, rather than a splinter stuck in the palm of his hand. I think the significance of Paul's physical distress was lost in the translation.
Questions to Ponder:It is interesting to me that Paul prayed three times for the Lord to take away his pain/discomfort. The average Christian has no idea how many times he or she has prayed about something. In fact, we will usually pray incessantly over the same issue. On the other hand, it seems as if three times was a lot for Paul. Why? Perhaps Paul found the Lord's answer in learning how to endure, rather than escape. What relief have you been seeking from the Lord? Has He already provided His answer? Have you accepted His comfort and will -- and not your own?