The Apostle Paul spoke of his “thorn in the flesh” more than once in his epistles. Biblical scholars on medical professions have speculated that he suffered from a disease similar to glaucoma. The condition gave him such discomfort and, he beliwved, held him back in his evangelistic work that he prayed 3 times.
Contrast that to our prayer practice of asking continually hoping that we’ll wear G-d down to the point He will acquiesce to our request. In the end Paul says that G-d told him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In the end Paul understood that G-d had reasons.
One the road yesterday I was forced to slow down by, of all things, a thorn. I started noticing the rear tire feeling a little under inflated in Ventura but a visual inspection revealed nothing. Several miles later, however, it was signifantly flat. As I was pushing to get to my cousins home in Santa Barbara by dinner, I simply used my handy dandy inflation tool powered by a CO2 cartridge and proceeded onward.
A miles later, I was flat again. Less time now to change a tube, so I grabbed another CO2 cartridge and filled it again. As the miles rolled on the more panicked I became about being late. The words of my grandmother, Nora Denlinger Hammond, echoed in my head, “The hurried I go, the behinder I get. ”
In the end I had to admit defeat. I’d run out of time and run out of CO2 cartridges. I had to let Greg and Kathy come rescue me. We had a lovely dinner, and a nice visit and I was able to repair the tire the next morning. I finally found the culprit – a very tiny thorn embedded in the tire.
What I thought was a thorn in the flesh turned out to be a means of G-d’s grace. Having to learn to slow down has allowed me to spend time with Christine Found-Jackson – my dear friend John’s widow – and to connect family – Greg and Kathy and their son Steven.
I’ve been praying for fewer headaches, fewer problems on this trip, but G-d has a way of revealing that His grace is sufficient.