2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
There are always reminders that we are just flesh, just human, nothing special or worthy. Sometimes it seems like the smallest things can bring us down. Our lives are so fragile. We are so fragile. And we are capable of experiencing all kinds of afflictions. However, even in this lowly state as mere humans, we have the opportunity to be servants of God, to be used by Him. We have a role in His plan and a place in His kingdom.
Paul had some unique experiences in his life. He did have reasons to boast. He had a list of things to point to that could make him feel like his was something special or that might tempt him to exalt himself. But he was humbled by this reminder of his humanity, by the thorn of his flesh and the infirmities he experienced. He saw that even though he had experienced so many unbelievable moments and was used in great ways, he was still just a man, capable of being driven to his knees in desperation by this thorn that he bore.
There are mountains and valleys in our walk with God. There are amazing and overwhelming victories, and then there are very low lows where we are afflicted and almost overcome. That is part of life in a sinful world, in sinful flesh, in a world consumed by a curse. But it’s also part of learning how to depend on God completely. It takes those kinds of things for us to realize we need Him so much. And then we see that He is willing to be everything we need Him to be.
God has ways of showing us exactly who we are. And He doesn’t waste any of those experiences. All through Scripture there are examples of things that God used in people’s lives to continually draw them to Him, to increase their faith and dependence on Him. And if we look back at our own lives, we can probably find the same thing. The truth is, sometimes life just hurts. Things hurt us here or we do things that hurt ourselves. But there is a loving God looking down on us and using those kinds of things to turn our focus a little bit more toward him as He shapes us into exactly who He wants us to be.